Islamist terror suspect pleads guilty in German trial

5th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

A 25-year-old German-Syrian dual national pleaded guilty here Thursday to charges of belonging to an Al-Qaeda-linked terror cell which trained him in Pakistan.

Rami Makenesi, on his first day in court, provided a full confession in exchange for a reduced prison sentence of no more than five years, a deal offered by the prosecution.

"I didn't fit in with Germany anymore", the Frankfurt-born Makenesi told the court to explain why he left the country in March 2009 to seek training with an Islamist militant group in Pakistan.

He was arrested in June in Pakistan as he was about to return to Germany. He told the court he had received weapons training, but decided he did not want to fight.

"I wanted to help Al-Qaeda in other ways", especially financially by helping to raise funds, he added.

Presiding judge Thomas Sagebiel had earlier said he would be willing to consider a maximum jail term of five years and count the time Makenesi already spent in custody against the sentence if the accused agreed to answer fully investigators' questions.

"The accused has confirmed that the charges brought against him are accurate", Sagebiel said at the close of proceedings Thursday.

Makenesi was extradited to Germany in August.

According to German security officials he surrendered voluntarily to Pakistani authorities.

Information provided by him and by another German arrested in Afghanistan prompted a security clampdown in Germany in November, resulting notably in the closing of the federal parliament building in Berlin to most visitors.

© 2011 AFP

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