Cologne-A Syrian refugee has gone on trial on charges of working with a terrorist organization and participating in the kidnapping of a U.N. peacekeeper in Damascus in 2013 in what prosecutors call a “war crime”.
The 25-year-old, named only as Suliman A.-S., appeared in court in the southwestern city of Stuttgart with a plaster on his face. Police said the plaster was covering a wound that was caused by another inmate when he assaulted him with a knife a day before the start of the trial.
The suspect allegedly participated in the abduction on February 17, 2013 and was “involved in guarding the kidnapped victim (a Canadian lawyer) between March and June 2013”.
He is “suspected of an attack during Syria’s civil war against a person, who was involved in a peacekeeping mission under the United Nations Charter, and was therefore entitled to protection,” the federal prosecutor’s office said when he was arrested in January.
A verdict is not expected before April 2017.
Germany has so far been spared large-scale jihadist attacks.
But Europe’s biggest economic power has been shaken by two assaults claimed by ISIS and carried out by Syrian asylum seekers — an axe rampage on a train in Wuerzburg that injured five, and a suicide bombing in Ansbach in which 15 people were hurt.
Police last week said they had foiled an alleged plot by a Syrian refugee to bomb one of Berlin’s airports.
The cases have fueled anxiety over Germany’s record influx of nearly 900,000 asylum seekers in 2015.
Meanwhile, German lawmakers on Friday approved a law the government says will tighten oversight of the BND spy agency.
The most controversial section of the law is a clause allowing the Bundesnachrichtendienst to intercept communications of foreign entities and individuals on German soil and abroad which pass through a major internet exchange point in Frankfurt.
The government says this is necessary to detect possible militants planning attacks in Germany or Europe.