Germany - Man Conducting Cyber Jihad Faces Trial

Peter Ernst, a federal prosecutor in Germany, described a first ever case where an Iraqi defendant, Ibrahim R., who is also a political refugee of Kurdish origin, spread terror through the Internet by conducting 'personal jihad'. DW-WORLD.DE reported this on September 28, 2007.

Ibrahim, 36, is facing trial in the city of Celle on accusation of putting up hate messages from Al Qaeda over an online chat session and summoning Islamite to join in jihad during October 2005 to October 2006. There was a minimum of 28 occasions of such chat sessions.

Outside the trial room, Ernst confirmed that it is a maiden case where authorities had applied new laws against terrorism to judge a person who was not directly supporting the actions such as raising funds on behalf of a banned fundamentalist group.

Security officials in Germany who had been closely monitoring the defendant's online behavior for a year and a half charged him of trying to recruit supporters and members for terrorist groups namely "Al Qaeda in Iraq" and "Al Qaeda".

According to federal prosecutors, Ibrahim, who is in jail since his arrest in October 2006, surfed online for long hours and used seven different identities to log on into chatrooms.

He downloaded video and audio files from the net and posted them in the chatroom. These files had messages by late Abu Musad at Sarkawi, leader of 'Al Qaeda in Iraq' group and Bin Laden. The messages tried to justify terrorist attacks and promoted hateful feelings against Jews.

However, Klaus Ruether, the defense lawyer, said that downloading such video and audio messages was not illegal in Germany. Middle East Times reported this on September 26, 2007. Ruether said it could be risky for Germany's justice system to handle the case, for it could result in broadening of criminal law to include laws for convictions of political nature.

In a similar case, 21-year old Mohammed Atif Siddique, a Muslim student of Alva in Scotland, was proved guilty on September 17, 2007 of committing a number of terrorist offences. Siddique was found guilty on four counts that included the use of the Internet to distribute and possess materials relating to terrorism (arms and explosives).

Related article: Germany Restricts Anti-Hacking Legalization

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