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Cablegate: Ansar Al-Islam Members Convicted by Bavarian Court

VZCZCXRO8907
PP RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ RUEHPOD
DE RUEHMZ #0409/01 1920754
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 110754Z JUL 07
FM AMCONSUL MUNICH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4032
INFO RUEAWJB/DOJ WASHDC
RHEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RUCNMEU/EU INTEREST COLLECTIVE
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MUNICH 000409

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR DSERCC, DS/IP/EUR, DS/DSS/ITA, EUR/AGS, S/CT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER ASEC ETTC PGOV PREL KCRM KISL KVPR GM

SUBJECT: ANSAR AL-ISLAM MEMBERS CONVICTED BY BAVARIAN COURT


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION.

REF: Munich 218

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) The Bavarian Supreme Court sentenced Ansar al-Islam member
Farhad Kanabi Ahmad to five years and six months in prison on July 9
following the sentencing of Dieman Abdulkadir Izzat to three years
and three months in prison on June 25. Prosecutors had asked for
sentences of six years for Ahmad, and four years and nine months for
Izzat. The presiding judge found the men guilty of membership in a
foreign terrorist organization, violation of Germany's foreign trade
law, and in the case of Izzat, fraud. An official of the Bavarian
Interior Ministry told ConGen Munich these cases demonstrated the
need to closely monitor Islamic extremists. End summary.

--------------------------------------------- ---
"TERRORISTS ALWAYS NEED MONEY FOR THEIR KILLING"
--------------------------------------------- ---

2. (U) Iraqi Farhad Kanabi Ahmad a.k.a. "Kawa Hamawadi" (from
Munich) was sentenced to five years and six months in prison by the
Bavarian Supreme Court on July 9. Iraqi Dieman Abdulkadir Izzat
(from Nuremberg) was sentenced to three years and three months in
prison by the same judge in a parallel trial on June 25. Presiding
judge Bernd von Heintschel-Heinegg found both guilty of membership
in the foreign terrorist organization "Ansar al-Islam" and violation
of Germany's foreign trade law. Federal prosecutors had asked for
sentences of six years for Ahmad, and four years and nine months for
Izzat [Note: the maximum sentence under German law for membership in
a foreign terrorist organization is 10 years].

3. (U) While the judge found both Ahmad and Izzat guilty of having
collected money in Germany for Ansar al-Islam, he could not find
evidence for all counts cited in the indictments. Apart from
supporting a foreign terrorist organization, the judge found that
the transfer of money to Iraq also constituted a violation of the
foreign trade law, as the EU embargo on Iraq at the time prohibited
financial transfers. Additionally, Izzat was found guilty of fraud,
having received payments from the Nuremberg welfare office amounting
to 45,000 Euros, which he also transferred to Iraq.

4. (U) The judge based his sentences on a number of intercepted
telephone conversations and e-mails. A fellow prisoner testified
that Izzat had divided people into good and evil -- those who were
followers of Islam and others who were "devils." The police also
found videos with killing scenes that the prosecutor characterized
as "extremely cruel." At the beginning of the trial, Izzat was also
alleged to have preached hatred and called for suicide bombings, a
charge that was later dropped due to lack of evidence.

5. (U) The trials fell under the August 2002 federal legislation
criminalizing membership in a foreign terrorist organization, which
was introduced following September 11, 2001. In January 2006, a
Bavarian court sentenced Lokman Amin Mohammed to seven years in
prison -- the first conviction in Germany under the new law. In
sentencing Ahmad on July 9, the judge criticized the conduct of two
separate but related Ansar al-Islam trials in Bavaria and Baden
Wurttemberg (currently underway), as a waste of legal resources,
when they could have potentially been combined. The judge added
that he would suggest the following headline for his verdicts:
"Terrorists rarely ever kill for money, but they always need money
for their killing."

-----------------
FREEDOM FIGHTERS?
-----------------

6. (U) The lawyers of the two Iraqis had pleaded for their
acquittal, defending them as "freedom fighters" against the U.S.
occupation in Iraq, and questioning the credibility of witnesses and
evidence -- mainly intercepted phone conversations, SMS' and
e-mails. They also rejected terror videos as "mere propaganda" that
had nothing to do with the individual actions of the defendants.
The judge, however, expressed the conviction that both men approved
of terror acts. He said his sentences were for clear criminal
activity, not to punish "resistance fighters" or followers of a
foreign religion. It was absurd, he said, to make brutal
decapitations, suicide attacks and the killing of innocent women and
children a human rights issue.

----------------
"A REAL BAD GUY"

MUNICH 00000409 002 OF 002


----------------

7. (SBU) A Bavarian Interior Ministry contact told ConGen Munich
that Izzat was a "real bad guy," and lamented that the court had not
been able to pass a longer sentence. He added that in Islamic
circles in Nuremberg, Izzat had the reputation of being a key
adviser on religious issues, which clearly demonstrated why it was
so important for the Interior Ministry to closely monitor potential
extremists. It was difficult for the Office for the Protection of
the Constitution (OPC) to penetrate religious services in DITIB
(Turkish Islamic Union for Religious Affairs) mosques, he said,
adding that it was practically impossible to convince peaceful
Muslims of the need to inform the police about suspicious action.
Home-grown terrorism was becoming an increasingly worrisome problem
in Germany, he added, as evidenced by the recent arrest of four
Europe-bound men with German passports in Pakistan suspected of
links with al-Qaeda.

-------
COMMENT
-------

8. (SBU) While these trials fell under the jurisdiction of federal
prosecutors, the case against both defendants was built by Bavarian
authorities using the tools they created to combat Islamic extremism
(REFTEL). The comments from the Bavarian Interior Ministry
underscore Bavarian law enforcement's view that not only is their
aggressive approach the right one, but if anything, needs enhancing.
With law-and-order Interior Minister Beckstein all but certain to
ascend to the Bavarian Minister-Presidency this fall, we expect this
view will carry the day.

9. (U) This report was coordinated with Embassy Berlin.

10. (U) Previous reporting from Munich is available on our SIPRNET
website at www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/munich/ .

NELSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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