A German radical preacher Sven Lau, 35, went on trial at a high security court in the western city of Duesseldorf on allegations he supported a foreign terror organisation. Sessions began later than expected yesterday afternoon because of rigid inspection procedures which journalists and followers of Lau were subjected to.
The judge concluded the session shortly after it began after Sven Lau’s lawyer, Mutlu Günal said that Lau would defend himself with “silence”, and this confirms Sven Lau’s unwillingness to make a statement. The court allocated Tuesday and Wednesday to listen to the accused’s testimony but his refusal to do so forced the court to postpone the second session to the 13th of September.
Before the sessions started, prosecutors said Sven Lau, 35, had served as an “extended arm” of the Jaish Al-Muhajireen Wal-Ansar, a terrorist organisation active in Syria which last year pledged allegiance to the Al-Nusra Front which was then an Al-Qaeda affiliate.
In light of the evidence, Lau recruited German volunteers to fight in Syria and helped them to travel to the country under the pretext of providing humanitarian assistance. Lau provided material support and devices to aid vision in the dark to fighters, and took advantage of “pilgrimage trips” that he organised and funded to smuggle fighters into Syria. Lau himself also visited areas of fighting. The prosecutor told the accused that he would not face charges for supporting a terrorist organisation, but rather for his membership of the organisation since the end of 2013.