Sauerland terror suspects fit to stand trial, charges ready

Sauerland terror suspects fit to stand trial, charges ready
One of the group Photo:DPA
The trial of three Germans alleged to be Islamist terrorists planning attacks on German soil should start soon, with charges against them nearly ready, according to officials.

The federal prosecutor is ready to charge Fritz Gelowicz, 29, Daniel Schneider, 22 and Adem Yilmaz, 29, with membership of a terrorist group, and preparation of an explosion, while Schneider will also be charged with attempted murder, Der Spiegel reports at the weekend.

The trio, dubbed the Sauerland terror group, planned car bomb attacks for October 2007, at the same time as Germany was to extend its operations in Afghanistan, police officers told the magazine.

In one bugged phone conversation it was suggested to target a big American disco, taking the attacks of September 11 as inspiration.

Authorities swooped in on the group on September 4, 2007 with hundreds of police officers after a lengthy surveillance operation.

Phone, cars and flats were tapped, and detectives seized several computers, producing thousands of pieces of evidence for the court case.

Magazine Focus says a clear image emerges of the radicalization of the three men, who decided to go to Afghanistan to seek martyrdom.

Psychiatrists have completed their assessment of the men and concluded they are fit to stand trial, the magazine reports.

They went to a training camp in Pakistan, where a senior Islamist gave them a clear aim back in autumn 2006 – they should prepare and carry out attacks in Germany.

The arrest of the three men showed for the first time that Germans could also be recruited into Islamist terrorist circles.

Police found 26 detonators when the raided the group, although experts say most of them would not have worked due to water damage.