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Trial against young IS sympathizers in Linz: 4 guilty verdicts

Trial against young IS sympathizers in Linz: 4 guilty verdicts
Symbolic photo: Filming and taking photographs were forbidden in the courtroom.

Advertising and homage to the “Islamic State” and the “Emirate of the Caucasus” on TikTok and Instagram, tributes to the notorious Viennese hate preacher Mirsad O., who is serving a 20-year prison sentence. Ten young people are said to have spread Islamist ideas in the greater Linz area and in doing so formed a terrorist group and a criminal organization.

Suspended prison sentences

Four of them had to appear in court in Linz on Thursday and received suspended prison sentences: a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old each received a suspended sentence of six months, a 19-year-old received a suspended sentence of 13 months and a fine, and his previously convicted partner of the same age received a partially suspended sentence of 24 months.

  • Report from the courtroom: Islamist trial: Young defendant only partially confesses

The young Austrian was born in Linz and converted to Islam. Like her alleged accomplices, she is in custody and came from prison to the courtroom wearing a black hijab and with a stroller. Her young son, whose father is the co-defendant (19), was sitting in the stroller.

The couple, who are married under Islamic law, moved to a larger apartment in the greater Linz area because of their children. There they are said to have set up a prayer room in the living room for radical supporters. The apartment was decorated with a self-painted IS flag. There were several books with relevant ideas on the shelves. The prosecutor is certain: “This apartment was supposed to be a special mosque for IS supporters.”

As reported, the four accused pleaded guilty in part. The young Iraqi admitted to having made a video in which a beheading was reenacted. It was “just a joke,” the Athens-born boy told the police at the time. “We didn’t think anything of it.” But now he realizes that it wasn’t funny, the accused told the judge.

“Helped with packing furniture”

The Russian citizen, born in Austria, said he simply could not explain why he had called for the murder of “infidels” in posts. “Today I would not do that anymore,” he asserted. He claims not to have been involved in setting up the mosque, he only helped with packing the furniture.

The Croatian asserted that his attitude had now “completely changed”. Many of the accusations were just “misunderstandings”. He simply wanted to have the “feeling” of living in a mosque in his apartment. He once posted an Islamist song with the text “We will bring Sharia to Germany. With Allah’s help we will win your country” with gunfire in the background.

The 19-year-old said in court that he “didn’t know” the text. And why did he write to his Muslim wife to delete all the chats when the investigation began? “I don’t remember.”

“I just wanted to belong”

The convert in the hijab said she had not received any information about Islam, she “just wanted to fit in.” In prison, she had contact with experts in deradicalization, and learned a lot about Islam that she had not known. “That showed me how stupid I was,” said the young mother.

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