Dutch court frees man 'pretending' to be jihadist
A Dutch court acquitted a Moroccan suspected of planning a local terror attack and going to Syria to join Islamic State militants, saying on Tuesday the would-be jihadist "pretended to be somebody he was not."
Only known as Mohammed B. because of Dutch privacy laws, prosecutors had originally called for him to be jailed for four years.
"Mohammed B., 27, has been acquitted on charges of planning a terrorist attack," the Rotterdam district court said in a statement.
"He previously pretended to be somebody he was not. For instance, being rich or being a student at a school where he wasn't enrolled," the court said.
"Therefore it cannot be excluded that in this case the suspect just pretended to be a 'brave Mujahideen' and had not really planned an attack or a trip to Syria," the court added.
Prosecutors alleged Mohammed B., who was illegally living in Amsterdam with his family, solicited information in online chat groups on how to commit a terror attack and make bombs.
He jotted down a recipe for a bomb in a notebook and on the same pad also wrote an oath of loyalty to the IS militants and a threat to the Dutch people and government.
After being examined by medical experts, the court said "there's no proof that he really wanted to commit these acts."
"He rather did it because of the thrill of pretending to be someone else," the court said.
Mohammed B.'s lawyer has in the past told judges his client pretended to be a jihadist to impress women.
He burst into tears after being acquitted and was now planning to apply for asylum in the Netherlands, Dutch media said.
Around 180 Dutch nationals have travelled to join Islamic State or other Islamist groups, according to the latest figures.
Around 20 have been killed in fighting, and 35 have returned to the Netherlands.
© 2015 AFP