Man jailed in Frankfurt for fighting with Somali Islamists

A Frankfurt court sentenced a Somali-born German national to two years and ten months in jail on Friday, for joining the Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab group and fighting alongside the Islamists in his native country.

Man jailed in Frankfurt for fighting with Somali Islamists
A Somali government soldier in Mogadishu in 2011. Photo: DPA.

The suspect, identified only as 29-year-old Abshir A, was found guilty of membership of a foreign terrorist group.

The court said the accused, who was born in Mogadishu, left Germany for Somalia in 2012 after becoming radicalized and was active for the militant group until early 2014.

He spent around four months undergoing combat training upon arrival, during which time Shabaab militia taught him how to handle weapons and employ guerrilla tactics, according to a court statement.

The accused was then sent to a Shabaab base but left “shortly afterwards because of health problems”, it added.

He remained in Somalia however, and only returned last year.

He was arrested upon his return at Frankfurt airport in July 2016.

The accused denied taking part in any fighting in Somalia, where the Shabaab are seeking to overthrow the country's internationally-backed government.

The group has also carried out deadly attacks elsewhere in East Africa.

German courts have jailed a number of returning jihadists for their membership in foreign terror groups.

Five men were sentenced to prison terms of up to five years in 2016 for having joined the Shabaab in Somalia.

In another case last year, a court jailed three young German men for up to four-and-a-half years for having joined extremist fighters in Syria in 2013.


Intern at German prison faces hefty bill after sending photo of master key to friends

A man on a work placement at a prison in the state of Brandenburg was immediately dismissed from his internship after sending friends a photo of the prison's master key via the messenger service WhatsApp.

Intern at German prison faces hefty bill after sending photo of master key to friends
A prison key. Photo: DPA

The man now faces paying a bill of up to €50,000 after Brandenburg’s justice ministry had to pay for the immediate replacement of 600 locks in the prison, Bild newspaper reports.

A photograph of a key could provide enough information for a skilled locksmith to be able to replicate it, leading the prison to fear that keys could be smuggled through to the inmates.

The justice department received a tip off that the intern had shared a picture of the master key for the JVA Heidering prison at the end of February. “A large number of cells and corridor doors had to have their locks changed,” a spokesman told Bild.

Some twenty prison guards worked into the early hours of the following morning to ensure that all the locks were changed.

The prison is situated just outside the city boundaries of Berlin on the southwestern edge of the capital.

“The internship ended with immediate effect and the intern was issued with a ban on entering the building,” the spokesperson said.

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