Two German courts on Wednesday handed down sentences in two cases regarding Middle East violence and turmoil. The Higher Regional Court in the northern city of Celle convicted four citizens of recruiting and operating an ISIS cell, planning a terror attack on German soil and sending fighters to Iraq and Syria. The main defendant, Ahmad Abdulaziz Abdullah, is believed to have preached at the Berlin mosque which was attended by the 2019 Berlin Christmas market attacker, and was sentenced to ten and a half years in jail. In a separate case, a judge in the western city of Koblenz sentenced Eyad al-Gharib, a former intelligence agent in Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government, to four and a half years in prison for complicity in crimes against humanity. Al-Gharib was found guilty of delivering dozens of Syrians to the notorious Damascus “Hell on Earth” prison, where they were tortured and murdered. His co-defendant, Anwar Raslan, is accused of raping and torturing thousands of prisoners and murdering 58, and will be sentenced at a later date. The two men arrived in Germany as asylum seekers but were later arrested. Theirs are the first international trials for atrocities of the Syrian civil war.
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