German court jails far-left Turkish militants

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A German court sentenced two Turkish left-wing militants to prison terms for membership of a foreign terrorist organisation Thursday after a trial lasting more than two years.

The regional superior court in Stuttgart, southwestern Germany, jailed the first defendant, a 48-year-old identified only as Ahmet Duzgun Y., for five years and four months and 36-year-old Devrim G. for four years and 10 months.

The judges found that the two, both Turkish citizens living in Germany, raised funds for the outlawed Turkish far-left group DHKP-C in Germany and helped smuggle weapons to the group in Turkey.

"The defendants were high-ranking functionaries of the 'rear guard' of the DHKP-C in Germany since August 30, 2002," when Germany made belonging to a foreign "terrorist" organisation a crime, the court said.

DHKP-C, or the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front, has waged an armed struggle against the Turkish state since 1976 and is listed as a terrorist group by Ankara, the European Union and the United States.

Turkish authorities say it has killed dozens including two retired generals, a former justice minister and a prominent businessman.

It is accused of recruiting members from poor districts of major cities for suicide attacks and has been banned in Germany, which has a three-million-strong Turkish minority, since 1998.

It announced the next year it would cease attacks on German soil.

The Stuttgart court said the trial, which began in March 2008, had been particularly long as the judges had heard more than 100 witnesses and vetted transcripts from copious tapped telephone calls.

© 2010 AFP

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