A Salafist on trial for plotting a terror attack in Germany has been found not to be a terrorist even though Islamic State literature and a pipe bomb were found in his home.
The trial of Halil D., a Frankfurt Muslim man, has come to a close and the verdict has puzzled many. Halil stood accused of plotting a terror attack last year in the city on a cycling tournament in the same style as the Boston Marathon bombing.
Although there was strong evidence in the case that the 35-year-old was planning a terror attack, the judge decided that the links to terror groups and terrorism were not strong enough to designate him as a terrorist, Die Welt reports.
At his home in the Frankfurt suburb Oberursel, police found a hoard of Islamic State propaganda including videos of Islamic State beheadings and murders, and speeches from Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Also found was the anti-semitic “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, an infamous pamphlet said to have been created in Tsarist Russia and an early inspiration for the Nazis.
Halil was also a subscriber to the Islamic State magazine “Dabiq” which earlier this year confirmed the death of UK born “Jihadi John”, and has called on its supporters to commit acts of terror in Europe. Investigators say that Halil had a range of contacts in the German Salafist scene extending beyond his local area.
The interactions of Halil with police in the past paints a picture of a man who regards German law as secondary to sharia, as so many in the German-Muslim community freely admit. In one interaction with a police officer, Halil is said to have stated: “I believe in sharia; German laws do not apply to me.”
The most substantial piece of evidence that the court was shown was the pipe bomb that was found in Halil’s basement. The bomb, made of hydrogen peroxide and nails, was similar to bombs used by the Brussels and Paris attackers.
The bomb, which was filled with 239 nails, 22 steel balls, and five rivets, was found along with knives and ammunition. Despite an explosives expert in the case stating that the bomb could kill anyone within a 30 foot radius of the blast, Halil’s defence lawyer Ali Aydin claimed it was nothing more than a “fire cracker.”
Police also noted that when they followed Halil’s movements they noticed he drove the exact route of the planned cycling tournament. The tournament was cancelled due to concerns that Halil may not have been acting alone.
Judge Clementine Englert declared that the evidence and witness testimony was not enough to convince her that Halil was plotting a terror attack, and found him guilty of possession of illegal weaponry. Halil was sentenced to only two and a half years in prison.