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Cablegate: Germany's First "Cyber Jihadist" Indicted in Lower Saxony

VZCZCXRO8074
RR RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAG #0053 2011044
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201044Z JUL 07
FM AMCONSUL HAMBURG
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0169
INFO RUEHAG/AMCONSUL HAMBURG 0188
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0155
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS HAMBURG 000053

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/AGS, EUR/PPD, L/LEI, AND S/CT.
JUSTICE FOR BARBARA BERMAN AND PATRICIA REEDY.
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER KJUS PREL ASEC KVPR GM
SUBJECT: GERMANY'S FIRST "CYBER JIHADIST" INDICTED IN LOWER SAXONY

REF: A. A) BERLIN 1398
B. B) 06 BERLIN 3323

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: German police arrested Ibrahim Rashid on
October 10, 2006 near Osnabrueck, Lower Saxony under a warrant
issued by the German Federal High Court on September 28, 2006.
On June 28, 2007 the Federal Prosecutor charged him with 28
separate counts of recruiting members and supporters for
Al-Qaeda and Al-Qaeda in Iraq during the time period of October
6, 2005 to October 1, 2006. While a trial date has not yet been
determined, the spokesperson of the Celle Higher Appellate Court
speculated that hearings will begin in late summer 2007. END
SUMMARY.

--------------------------------------------- ---------
"Cyber Jihadist" Activities in Lower Saxony
--------------------------------------------- ---------

2. (SBU) Ibrahim Rashid (37) is an Iraqi national who had been
living in Georgsmarienhuette in the state of Lower Saxony,
Germany for eight years prior to his arrest on October 10, 2006.
Since then, he has been in pre-trial custody. The Federal
Prosecutor's Office has accused Rashid of spreading statements
by Osama Bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi
over the internet. The prosecutor claims that he did this in an
open chat room called "Supporters of Jihadists" by playing
real-time video and audio files, posting links to internet sites
where these files were available, and pasting the texts of
Al-Qaeda speeches in the chat window (Note: These speeches
partially included instructions on how to commit terrorist acts.
End Note.). Rashid is accused of agreeing with the messages,
calling for participation in Jihad, idealizing martyrdom, and
reporting on "successful Mujaheddin attacks."

--------------------------------------------- --------------
--------------------
German Federal High Court Only Partially Admitting Indictment
--------------------------------------------- --------------
--------------------

3. (SBU) In a conversation with Pol/Econ Specialist, Celle
Higher Appellate Court Spokesperson Dr. Stephanie Springer noted
that the Federal Prosecutor originally wanted to charge Rashid
with support of a terrorist organization. However, Springer
pointed out that in its May 16, 2007 landmark decision the
German Federal High Court rejected that charge, arguing that
following the revision of the German Penal Code in 2003, the
mere promotion of terrorism, calls for Holy War and terrorist
activities are no longer punishable (Note: Prior to the penal
code changes in 2002 and 2003, every form of promotion of
terrorist organizations or affirmative description of terrorist
activities was indictable. End Note.). Therefore, the
prosecution now needs to concretely prove that Rashid attempted
to recruit members and supporters for Al-Qaeda.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: Prior to the SPD-Greens revision of the German
Legal Code in 2002-2003, promotion of terrorism and calls for
Jihad were punishable. The revision of this legislation is now
haunting the prosecution in the Rashid trial, which is obliged
to prove that Rashid not only expressed sympathy for and
promoted terrorist acts, but also tried to recruit members and
supporters for Al-Qaeda and Al-Qaeda in Iraq. The case is the
first of its kind in Germany in that the accused is being
charged as a recruiter even though he is not charged of formally
belonging to either Al-Qaeda or Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Also, it is
the first time that a "cyber Jihadist" is accused in Germany.

5. (SBU) The case also has the potential to further fuel the
national debate on online investigations and preventative
observation (Ref A). The Rashid case demonstrates that
preventative observation can deliver results and seems to have
motivated Lower Saxony to consider altering existing laws to
make such observation constitutional. In July 2005, the Federal
Constitutional Court had ruled against a measure in Lower
Saxony's police law permitting preventative observation because
the law was not "differentiated enough." However, shortly after
Rashid's arrest Lower Saxony's Interior Minister Schuenemann
announced that the state was considering how to alter the
measure and reinsert it into its police law. In June 2007, the
Lower Saxony Parliament began debates on changes to the police
law that would permit limited preventative observation. END
COMMENT.

6. (U) This message has been coordinate with Embassy Berlin.

BUTCHER

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