Former German 'Islamic State' fighter gets four years, six months in prison

A court in the western city of Dusseldorf has sentenced Nils D. to four years and six months in jail for being a member of a terrorist group. The 25-year-old had admitted being part of an "Islamic State" unit in Syria.

The court handed down the sentence of four years and six months in jail, citing Nils D.'s membership of terrorist organization "IS".

Nils D., who hails from the western German town of Dinslaken, was a member of the so-called "Lohberger Brigade" in his hometown, which supports "Islamic State" (IS) in Syria.

He was arrested on his return from Syria to Germany last year. He confessed to working for the IS's "secret police," which aims to intimidate the local population and arrest "deserters." His role there involved arresting people and acting as a guard for the group's torture prisons.

After his return he had cooperated with the authorities and provided them with valuable insider knowledge. Before his departure to Syria, the 25-year-old had been a drug addict and delinquent at school, the judge said on Friday.

DW's Manasi Gopalakrishnan was at the Dusseldorf court on Friday.

Nils D. also took part in funding activities for IS in Germany, the court heard.

It was doubtful, however, according to prosecutors and presiding judge Barbara Havliza, whether Nils D. had truly cut ties with IS. Prosecutors had throughout the trial pointed out his callousness and brutality during his time in Syria.

ng/kms (dpa, AFP)

Islamists in Germany

The Islamist scene

Thousands of Islamists live in Germany; several hundred are considered militant. Some are converts, but for the most part they're the children of immigrants - young men searching for direction and community after struggling to integrate in Germany, according to Hans-Georg Maassen, head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency.

Islamists in Germany

The 9/11 attacks

The September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the US were planned in part in Hamburg. Three of the four 9/11 pilots and at least six supporters belonged to a Hamburg terror cell, including suicide pilot Mohammed Atta (below, middle). Mounir el-Motassadeq (below, left) was sentenced to 15 years in prison after the world's first 9/11 trials.

Deutschland Köln Kofferbomber am Hauptbahnhof Flash-Galerie 911 Blutspur 7

Islamists in Germany

Suitcase bombers

On July 31, 2006 Lebanese students Jihad Hamad and Youssef El Hajdib planned to detonate two homemade suitcase bombs on two packed regional trains traveling from Cologne to the cities of Hamm and Koblenz. The bombs failed to explode due to faulty construction. Hamad is serving 12 years in prison in Beirut. El Hajdib, meanwhile, is serving a life sentence in Germany.

Islamists in Germany

The Sauerland cell

On September 4, 2007 the GSG 9 anti-terror unit stormed a vacation house in the Sauerland region of North Rhine-Westphalia, arresting three men: Adem Yilmaz (left), Daniel Schneider (center) and Fritz Gelowicz (right). The group had planned bomb attacks on German and US army facilities in protest of the Bundeswehr's deployment to Afghanistan. The terrorists will spend up to 12 years behind bars.

Islamists in Germany

Wife and aide of a terrorist

The wife of the leader of the Sauerland cell, Filiz Gelowicz, was also tried in court. Sitting behind a pane of security glass in a Berlin courtroom on November 5, 2010, the 29-year-old admitted to raising money to support the jihad. She was found guilty of aiding terrorism and sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.

Islamists in Germany

The Frankfurt Airport attack

On March 2, 2011 Arid Uka unleashed a bloodbath at the Frankfurt Airport, shooting to death two US soldiers and severely injuring two others. To date, it's the only Islamist attack in Germany to result in fatalities. Uka was born in Kosovo, but grew up in Germany. His family was not considered fanatical, but he portrayed himself as a jihadist on Facebook.

Islamists in Germany

Al Qaeda cell in Düsseldorf

Al Qaeda right in the middle of the Rhineland: Halil S. (center) appeared before the federal court in Karlsruhe on December 9, 2011, accused of belonging to a Düsseldorf terror cell. One of its members was said to have once been a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden. The terror network had planned a large attack in Germany. All four members of the Düsseldorf cell were sentenced to long prison terms.

Islamists in Germany

The Salafists

The number of Salafists in Germany is growing; some estimates put them as high as 7,000. Since October 2011, they have been handing out free German translations of the Koran through the "Lies!" ("Read!") campaign. The goal is to distribute 25 million copies. A few hundred Salafists are seen as being potentially violent, while around 500 have traveled to war zones in Syria and Iraq.

Islamists in Germany

Attempted attack in Bonn

It was supposed to be a demonstration of radical Islamist power: On December 10, 2012 a bomb was left in a blue sports bag at the Bonn train station. A defect in its construction was the only thing that prevented its explosion. Marco G., who grew up in Oldenburg and converted to Islam, was behind the attempted attack.

Islamists in Germany

The 'Sharia Police'

In early September 2014, the so-called "Sharia Police" patrolled the streets of Wuppertal. Dressed in orange-colored vests, the men stopped young Muslims and ordered them not to gamble, drink or listen to music. Aiman Mazyek, the chairman of Germany's Central Council of Muslims, called their actions a "misappropriation of our religion."

Islamists in Germany

Syrian returnees

In July 2013, Kreshnik B. traveled to Syria to join the "Islamic State" (IS). Upon his return to Germany in 2013, he was arrested in Frankfurt, with the state attorney accusing him of being a member of the IS terror militia. If convicted, he faces more than four years in prison. His trial marks the first time a returnee from the war zones in Iraq and Syria has been before a judge in Germany.

Islamists in Germany

From rapper to jihadi

Denis Cuspert, born to a German father and a Ghanaian mother in Berlin in 1975, is Germany's most famous jihadi in the "Islamic State." Also known as rapper Deso Dog, he has been in Syria since the end of 2012. His mission: radicalize Salafists in Germany. Earlier this month, he was identified in a recent beheading video. The German government would like to put him on the UN's terror list.