A court in Arnhem has found two men not guilty of preparing to carry out murder, arson and terrorist attacks by joining radical Islamic groups in Syria.
Judges said the public prosecution department had not proved the two men wanted to join the armed struggle in Syria. The two were arrested in Germany in August 2013 in cars containing camouflage clothing, balaclava helmets, a large quantity of cash and solar chargers.
The public prosecutor said at their trial last month that Mohamed el A and Hakim B should both be jailed for two years and that Skype conversations, email and Whatsapp messages proved both men wanted to take part in jihad.
Both men denied the accusations. El A told the court he planned to move to Syria but only as an aid worker and that he planned to give the equipment to his brother who is already there. Hakim B said he was on his way to visit his brother in Turkey.
The court ruled that El A did believe in an orthodox Islamic ideology and knew his brother was fighting in Syria, but nevertheless said there is not enough evidence he was planning to take up arms.
His lawyer welcomed the verdict. ‘The court has said you are entitled to think what you like but that does not mean you are going to commit crimes,’ the lawyer told news agency ANP.
In the case of B, the court ruled there was nothing in the evidence to contradict his story about visiting his brother.
The two men were not in custody but were wearing electronic tags. The court ordered the tags be removed.
The public prosecution department was visibly disappointed in the verdict and is considering an appeal, broadcaster Nos says.
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