Five Sikhs face terrorism charges in Germany

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German prosecutors Thursday announced terrorist-related charges against five Sikh extremists, four of them Indian and one German, including the attempted murder of a Sikh guru in Vienna.

The charges, filed by federal prosecutors before a court in Frankfurt, western Germany, on April 21, also include membership of the banned Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF), a Sikh separatist organisation, and the gathering of funds and weapons on its behalf.

Two of the accused, a 36-year-old Indian identified as Bhupinder S.B. and a 33-year-old Indian identified as Gurmit S., who were arrested in July last year are also charged with running "a foreign terrorist cell".

Sukhpreet S., 36, and Jagtar S.M., 41, both Indian citizens, and Mandeep S, 31, a German national, all charged with membership of the KZF, are also alleged to have been in on a plot to shoot dead a visiting Sikh religious guru in Vienna in late July.

The attempted murder was foiled by a heavy police presence, prosecutors said.

In September, an Indian Sikh was jailed for life in Austria in connection with the shooting dead in May 2009 of guru Sant Rama Nand, 57, at a Sikh temple in Vienna. Another guru, Sant Niranjan Dass, 68, also visiting from India, was wounded in the attack.

Four of five accomplices aged between 29 and 46 received jail terms of 17 to 18 years for complicity in murder and wounding, while the fifth was given a six-month sentence.

© 2011 AFP

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