"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Monday, 10 August 2009

German & Turkish Terrorists Plead Guilty in Düsseldorf

Presumably after so embarrassingly misinterpreting the tenets of the religion of peace, they wish to cut their losses and get lighter prison sentences.

The Local:
The three Germans and a Turkish national belonging to the so-called Sauerland cell have spent the past weeks detailing their plans to agents from the Federal Crime Office after a shock announcement in a Düsseldorf court on June 9 that they would plead guilty to the charges against them.

The four defendants, who could face 15 years in prison if convicted, aim to shorten what was expected to be a mammoth trial and reduce their sentences by confessing, defence attorneys said.

"The accused confirmed that they intended to kill as many American soldiers as possible here," federal prosecutor Volker Brinkmann told reporters as the trial resumed. He added that the four had made "very comprehensive statements" about the plot.

Presiding judge Ottmar Breidling said at the start of the hearing that he believed after reviewing the accounts of the confessions that they would lead to a relatively quick end to the trial and expose the dimensions of the plot.

"We are impressed on the one hand by the scope of the testimony and on the other by the candour," he said, noting that the transcripts and notes from the questioning comprised 1,584 pages.

The accused were to tell the court of their alleged bid to mount at least three car bombings against US military installations and American citizens in Germany. They planned the attacks just before a parliamentary vote to extend the mandate of German troops serving in Afghanistan, authorities say.

Prosecutors accuse the group, known as the Sauerland cell after the region where they were captured in September 2007, of aspiring to carry out attacks on the same scale as those of September 11, 2001 on the United States which killed more than 3,000 people.

After months of surveillance, police using US and German intelligence said they caught three of the suspects red-handed, mixing chemicals to make the equivalent of 410 kilogrammes (900 pounds) of explosives - 100 times the amount used in the 2005 London bombings that killed more than 50 people.

Two of the suspects, Fritz Gelowicz, 29, and Daniel Schneider, 23, are German converts to Islam, a third is a German citizen of Turkish origin, Attila Selek, 24, and the fourth a Turkish national, Adem Yilmaz, 30.

They have been charged with belonging to a terrorist organisation - the Islamic Jihadic Union in Pakistan, an extremist group linked to al-Qaida -and plotting to stage attacks with explosives.

The trial was expected to be one of the lengthiest and costliest on a militant plot in Germany since urban guerrillas from the Red Army Faction faced court in the 1970s.

Prosecutors said they were considering whether to bring charges against a fifth man, a Turkish national living in Germany Mevlut Kar, who is suspected of providing the group with more than 20 detonators for their explosives.

German media have reported that Kar has ties to Turkish intelligence but Brinkmann said they had no evidence that he worked as an informant for Ankara.

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