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Syrian given nine-year sentence for Copenhagen 'matchstick' terror plot

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Syrian given nine-year sentence for Copenhagen 'matchstick' terror plot
Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen / Ritzau Scanpix
11:36 CEST+02:00
A Syrian national was sentenced to 12 years in prison and deportation from Denmark on Monday for planning to commit terror in Copenhagen.

The sentence was given by a jury at Copenhagen City Court after the man was found guilty of intending to kill or seriously wound members of the public in Copenhagen in November 2016.

He planned to use one or more home-made bombs and long knives in the attack, the jury found.

The man, Moyed al-Zoebi, pleaded not guilty in the case, but the prosecution was able to present sufficient evidence against him.

The bomb was to be produced using components from 17,000 matchsticks which a second man, also Syrian, was found in possession of whilst carrying them in a rucksack as he travelled from Germany to Denmark.

During the case, emphasis was placed on the “strongly extremist mindset” of the accused, Ritzau writes.

He regularly spoke and wrote about jihad, including in a series of online messages with his mother around a month before he travelled to Copenhagen, in which he wrote that he would “kill the whole world until God is worshipped 100 percent”.

At the time, he lived in a refugee facility in Sweden, where other residents became tired of his constant references to the Islamic State terror group, the court heard.

The sentence is in line with precedent in cases involving plans to commit terror.

“This was a case of the most serious form of terrorism with manslaughter and bombings,” the presiding judge said as the sentence was given.

The verdict has been appealed to the Østre Landsret high court.

The plan to carry out the attack in Copenhagen was foiled when the second man was stopped at the port in Rødby on November 19th, 2016 and sent back to Germany, as he was not carrying a passport. The same day, al-Zoebi travelled from Sweden to Copenhagen and waited for several hours before returning across the Øresund by train.

He was arrested in autumn 2017 when he tried to travel from Copenhagen Airport with a fake passport.

The two individuals were later connected and al-Zoebi was eventually charged under Denmark’s terrorism laws.

The accomplice was sentenced to six and a half years in prison by a German court in 2017, with the accounts he gave in that case playing a crucial role in the conviction of the 32-year-old al-Zoebi.

A third man, who has not been identified, is thought to have arranged the contact between the two Syrians.

READ ALSO: 'Random people' were target of Copenhagen terror plot: prosecution

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