Cablegate: Germany: Country Reports On Terrorism 2009

DE RUEHRL #0009/01 0061330
R 061330Z JAN 10





REFERENCE: 2009 STATE 109980

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1. Begin text of report:

German security officials stress that Islamist-inspired terrorism is
the greatest threat to German security and they estimate that
roughly 185 individuals have undergone paramilitary training over
the past ten years at Islamist extremist training centers located
primarily in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Approximately 90 of these individuals have returned to Germany and
15 of them are currently in custody. In 2009, Germany investigated,
arrested, and prosecuted numerous terrorism suspects and disrupted
terrorist-related groups within its borders with connections to
international Islamist, Kurdish nationalist, and Marxist-Leninist
terrorist organizations. Two new legislative packages entered into
force in 2009 that strengthened Germany's counterterrorism legal
framework and provided security officials with new powers of

Throughout the year, a number of Islamist-inspired terrorist
organizations (including the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), al-Qa'ida,
and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan) released a series of videos
featuring German speakers who threatened terrorist attacks in
Germany or against German interests abroad. In a number of
instances, the identities of the individuals appearing in the videos
are known and include German-Moroccan dual citizens Bekkay Harrach,
Mounir Chouka, and Yassin Chouka. German citizen Eric Breininger,
who is believed to be located in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border
region, also appeared in a number of IJU propaganda videos.

During the summer, the frequency of the extremist video and audio
messages increased and threatened Germany with attacks if the
government did not withdraw its military forces from Afghanistan.
Security officials interpreted the videos as an attempt to influence
the September 27 national elections. The threats led German police
to take heightened security measures at airports, railway stations,
and other public sites. On November 13, the Stuttgart district
court sentenced an ethnic Turkish man to six months in jail for
breach of the peace after he posted one of the extremist videos
featuring Bekkay Harrach on YouTube.

On January 1, new legislation went into effect that broadened the
powers of the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA) in
counterterrorism investigations. The law provided the BKA with
preventative investigatory powers and gave the BKA lead
responsibility in terrorism investigations in which the threat
extends across multiple federal states, in which state-level
competence is unclear, or in which state officials request federal

On August 4, a second legislative package entered into force that
made significant amendments to the German Criminal Code and
criminalized a range of terrorism-related preparatory actions such
as participating in terrorist training or acquiring weapons/bombs
with the intent to commit attacks that endanger the German state.
The amendments also outlaw the distribution and acquisition of bomb
making and similar instruction materials if the intent is to
motivate individuals to commit violent crimes. Establishing contact
with a terrorist group with the intent of receiving training to
commit attacks is also outlawed.

A high profile trial of the four individuals belonging to the IJU
cell arrested in Sauerland in 2007 began on April 22. The
defendants are charged with membership in a foreign terrorist
organization, preparation of a serious criminal offense involving
explosives, and other violations. The defendants gave comprehensive
testimony that included descriptions of their training at terrorist
camps in North Waziristan, Pakistan. The trial is expected to
conclude in 2010.

German courts also began trials or reached verdicts in other notable
counterterrorism cases:

- On October 13, the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court sentenced Omid
Shirkani, a German citizen of Afghan background, to two years and
nine months in prison, and co-defendant Huseyin Ozgun, a Turkish
citizen, to one year and two months in prison on charges of
supporting a foreign terrorist organization (IJU) and violating the
Foreign Trade Act. The two participated in terrorism training in
Pakistan and supported the IJU with financing and paramilitary

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- On July 13, the Koblenz Higher Regional Court sentenced Aleem
Nasir, a German citizen of Pakistani origin, to eight years
imprisonment for membership in a foreign terrorist organization
(al-Qa'ida) and multiple counts of violating the Foreign Trade Act.
Nasir recruited personnel and provided money and military equipment
to al-Qa'ida.

- In July, the Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court found H|seyin Acar,
a leading member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), guilty of
being the ring-leader of a criminal organization and of coordinating
PKK actions in Germany. The Court sentenced Acar to three years and
nine months in prison.

- On August 12, the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court found Aslan Y.,
a Turkish citizen of Kurdish origin, guilty of membership in a
terrorist organization (PKK) and multiple cases of arson, sentencing
him to four years imprisonment. Aslan Y. was a PKK leader in
southern Germany between 1993 and 1994 and ordered multiple arson
attacks on Turkish targets in Germany such as clubs, restaurants and
businesses in which one person died.

- On April 8, the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court upheld the 2008
sentencing of Muzaffer Ayata, a Turkish citizen, to three years and
six months in prison on charges of being a leader of a criminal
organization (PKK).

- On September 14, the Koblenz Higher Regional Court began the trial
of Sermet Ilgen, a German citizen, and Vmer Vzdemir, a Turkish
citizen, who are charged with membership in a foreign terrorist
organization (al-Qa'ida) and violations of the Foreign Trade Act.
The two are accused of having participated in terrorist training at
camps in Pakistan and to have provided al-Qa'ida with funding and

- On January 15, the Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court began the
trial of five individuals suspected of membership in the
Revolutionary People's Liberation Party - Front (DHKP-C), a
left-wing terrorist organization that seeks to overthrow the Turkish
government and replace it with a Marxist-Leninist regime.

During the year, German law enforcement authorities arrested a
number of individuals suspected of involvement in terrorism.
Prominent new actions and arrests included:

- The BKA arrested Adnan Vatandas, a Turkish-German man suspected of
supporting al-Qa'ida by distributing Internet propaganda and
instructions on bomb-making.

- On December 9, prosecutors in Dusseldorf filed charges against
Nurhan E., a Turkish woman, for membership in a terrorist
organization (DHKP-C).

- On December 15, police arrested Sinan B., a German citizen of
Turkish descent, on suspicion of attempted arson, membership in a
terrorist organization (DHKP-C) and conspiracy to commit homicide.
Sinan B. is alleged to have participated in the firebombings of two
Turkish banks in Germany in 1995.

German security officials conducted investigations of a number of
individuals and organizations suspected of supporting
Islamist-inspired extremist organizations. Prominent investigations
in this area include:

- On March 10-11 police and security agencies searched multiple
apartments, offices, and premises of associations in Germany
(Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Berlin) and Belgium at the
request of the Munich Prosecutor's office. The agencies are
investigating the activities of ten people who are suspected of
having formed a criminal association directed at committing crimes
in order to acquire funds to pursue Islamist-inspired political

- The North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) state prosecutor has initiated a
criminal investigation on charges of forming a criminal
organization, fraud and other crimes against two Islamist
organizations with headquarters in NRW: "Milli Gr|s" (IGMG), in
Kerpen, and the "Islamic Community Germany" (IGD) in Cologne.

- On July 4, 180 Bremen police officers raided an alleged meeting of
European Islamists at the "Family and Culture Association" in

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Bremen-Groepelingen. The Association is headed by Ren Marc Sepac,
who is under observation by German domestic intelligence services
and suspected of supporting the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF)
and having contacts with al-Qa'ida.

- On October 7, Berlin police searched 26 apartments during an
investigation of a group of alleged Islamists possibly planning
terrorist attacks in Russia. Authorities seized computers and other
items and investigators found evidence that some individuals
associated with the group had left Germany in order to undergo
training in extremist camps in Pakistan.

Germany remained a strong advocate of the UNSCR 1267
al-Qa'ida/Taliban financial sanctions regime and proposed a number
of individuals to the committee for designation.

The German government continued its outreach and engagement with
Muslim communities to promote integration and tolerance. The
Ministry of Interior continued the German Islam Conference
initiative that it began in 2006 and held a plenary meeting in June
that released a new study entitled "Muslim Life in Germany." The
conference is made up of several working groups that meet on a
regular basis to discuss issues relevant to Muslims living in
Germany such as education, religious instruction, separation of
religion and state, mosque construction, and strengthening relations
between Muslim communities and the media and business sectors. One
forum within the Conference focuses on improving cooperation between
security authorities and the Muslim community in order to address
radicalization and extremism.

Implementation discussions continued regarding a bilateral
U.S.-German agreement to strengthen fingerprint and DNA information
sharing to combat terrorism and serious crime. The U.S. Embassy's
Law Enforcement Working Group continued its ongoing engagement with
state-level law enforcement contacts by organizing four security
conferences throughout Germany in which the topic of Islamist
terrorism featured prominently.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Ministry
of Interior continued their strategic dialogue and held a
Deputies-chaired conference in June to strengthen cooperation across
a range of counterterrorism-related issues. Germany participated in
the DHS Customs and Border Protection's Container Security
Initiative in the ports of Hamburg and Bremerhaven and supported DHS
Customs and Border Protection's Immigration Advisory Program
operating at the Frankfurt Airport. The DHS Transportation Security
Administration's presence in Frankfurt, together with U.S. and
German air marshals, formed key parts of bilateral efforts to
provide air transport security for the seven German airports with
flights to the United States.

As a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), Germany
continued to comply with requirements in the VWP law related to
information sharing and other law enforcement and counterterrorism
cooperation. This cooperation was further enhanced by the
Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007.

End text of report.

2. Embassy point of contact for this report is Econ/Global
Affairs Officer David Fisher. Email:


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