BERLIN (AP) – A German man of Turkish heritage has been charged with membership in al-Qaida on allegations that he helped procure equipment and funds for the terrorist group, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Sermet I., 31, whose last name was not given in line with
German privacy laws, was charged with membership in a foreign terrorist organization and violating German export laws. He could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. The suspect’s attorney was on vacation and could not be reached for comment. A trial has not yet been scheduled. Sermet I. was arrested Feb. 6 at Stuttgart airport as he entered the country and was charged June 19, prosecutors said. They did not say where he was traveling from. He is alleged to have supplied range finders and other items with possible military applications, along with cash, to Aleem N., a German of Pakistani origin who was arrested in Germany in February 2008.
Aleem N. is then accused of then having transported the equipment and money to al-Qaida contacts in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.
Sermet I. visited Aleem N. many times at his apartment in the town of Germersheim in western Germany, prosecutors said.
The German of Pakistani heritage, who has been identified by his family as Aleem Nasir, went on trial in December in Koblenz, also charged with membership in Al Qaeda. A verdict is expected next Monday.
In another linked case, prosecutors in March charged 31-year-old Omer O. with membership in Al Qaeda on allegations he was collecting money and recruiting supporters for the group in Germany.
At the time, prosecutors alleged the Turkish citizen collected cash and other items, including a bulletproof vest and a laptop, to deliver to Aleem N.