Islamist terror suspect goes on trial in Germany

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A 25-year-old German-Syrian dual national went on trial here Thursday charged with belonging to an Al-Qaeda-linked terror cell which trained him in Pakistan.

A defence lawyer said Rami Makenesi would plead guilty and provide a full confession in exchange for a reduced prison sentence of no more than five years, a deal offered by the prosecution.

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

"You are responsible for your fate from here on out," Sagebiel said.

Makenesi was arrested in June in Pakistan as he was about to return to Germany which he had left in March 2009 with a view to train with an Islamist militant group.

German security officials said he surrendered voluntarily to Pakistani authorities after changing his mind about joining jihad.

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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