A German court on Wednesday sentenced a Syrian refugee to seven years in jail for fighting with the Islamic State group, but found that he had lied about being part of a terror cell planning an attack in Duesseldorf.
Saleh A. had presented himself to police in Paris in 2016, claiming to be a part of an IS “sleeper cell” planning a gun and suicide bomb assault in the old town centre of the western German city of Duesseldorf.
He was then extradited to Germany in September 2016 and remanded in custody.
But during his trial he admitted to lying about the involvement of two alleged co-plotters, and prosecutors came to the conclusion that he had invented the whole terror plot story.
The two suspects, an Algerian and a Jordanian, were cleared of the plot charges and released from custody last year — after spending some 18 months in pre-trial detention.
Through his false statements, Saleh A. “had hoped to receive a reward, win the right to stay in Germany and bring over his family,” DPA news agency reported.
While the court agreed with prosecutors there never was a plan to sow terror in Duesseldorf, judges found Saleh A. guilty of fighting for IS in Syria and of killing a Syrian army sniper in 2013.
Defence lawyers for Saleh A. had asked for a lighter sentence, arguing that their client had been forced into joining IS.