An Austrian court was ready to send a message to would-be Islamist recruiters. Ebu Tejma, who has facilitated sending more than 150 Europeans to the Middle East to fight with extremists, now faces a 20-year jail term.
A criminal court in Graz, Austria, was determined to set an example on Wednesday when they sentenced a hate preacher who has adopted the name Ebu Tejma to 20 years in prison. He was sentenced on one count of membership in a terrorist organization and one of promoting terrorist activities.
Born in Serbia as Mirsad O.*, Tejma became famous in 2014 for allegedly recruiting two Austrian teenage girls to leave their homes and travel to Syria to support "Islamic State" (IS) jihadis. One of them is believed to have died while living amongst the terrorists.
He gained notoriety once again when an entire Austrian family of five traveled to join IS at his urging in February 2015. He is said to have recruited over 150 foreign fighters to fight for Islamist causes across the world.
According to the Counter Extremism Project, Tejma is thought to have founded a Bosnian terrorist cell based in Vienna. Prosecutors accused him of using YouTube to radicalize young people and push them to join Islamist extremist movements across the world. Furthermore, he called on his followers to commit murder and genocide against non-believers.
Tejma, 35, was arrested in November 2015 and pled not guilty to the charges. His sentence is the harshest so far for convicted Islamists in Austria.
*Editor's note: Deutsche Welle follows the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and obliges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.
es/msh (dpa, AFP)