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Al Qaida suspects on trial in Germany

world Updated: Sep 14, 2009 17:12 IST

Two German men of Turkish heritage went on trial in Koblenz, Germany on Monday, charged with violating export laws and belonging to Al Qaida after allegedly procuring equipment and funds for the terrorist group.

Federal prosecutors claim the men, identified only as Sermet I and Omer O have belonged to Al Qaida at least since 2004. Their last names were not released in line with German privacy laws. They could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Both are alleged to have worked closely with Aleem Nasir, a 47-year-old German of Pakistani origin who was convicted in July of Al Qaida membership as well as eight counts of export violations. Nasir was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Prosecutors say Sermet I supplied range finders, night-vision equipment and an unspecified quantity of cash to Nasir during three meetings between Aug 2004 and Dec 2006. He was convicted of delivering that equipment and money to Al Qaida members along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Sermet I was arrested on Feb 6 at Stuttgart airport. Prosecutors have not said where he was travelling from.

Omer O is accused of providing cash and equipment -- including a bulletproof vest to Nasir, as well as recruiting at least two potential insurgents to Al Qaida in Germany. One of those recruits is alleged to be Bekkay Harrach, who has threatened attacks on Germany in multiple videos dating back to Oct 2008.

Investigators also believe Omer O trained in a terrorist camp on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in 2006.