A Berlin court has set long jail terms for a German and an Austrian who trained with al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The German triggered a terror alert in 2009 when he made threats in German against his own country in a video.
Jail terms of nine years and nearly seven years were imposed respectively on the German, 27, and the Austrian, 23, at the close of the year-long trial in Berlin. Both men had refused to testify. Their lawyers had sought acquittal.
The men were convicted under German law of being members of a foreign terrorist organization. The court said it had "no doubt" on the complicity of the accused.
Prosecutors said the German had been a founding member of the Association of German Taliban Mujahedin, an al Qaeda affiliate, until May 2010.
Trained with al Qaeda
The Berlin court found that both accused had then trained in al Qaeda camps along the Afghan-Pakistan border during late 2010. It remained unclear whether they actually took part in attacks on NATO-led forces inside Afghanistan.
In January 2011 they had returned to Europe to recruit potential jihadists, raise funds and lie in wait for "specific operations," said the first Senate of Berlin's penal court.
The older man, a Berliner, was caught in Vienna in March 2011. The Austrian was arrested two months later. Both were extradited to Germany.
The Internet video had appeared during the lead-up to Germany's 2009 federal election. Its makers threatened to spread Islamist militancy to Germany.