A court in Albania has ordered the extradition of a Tajik man sought by Germany for suspected membership in a cell of the Islamic State (IS) group.
The district court in the capital, Tirana, decided on June 12 that 24-year-old Komrom Zukhurov should not be extradited to Russia, where he is also wanted, or to his native Tajikistan, where he claims he was tortured.
Albania announced it had arrested Zukhurov on April 30, two weeks after German authorities said they had detained a group of Tajik nationals suspected of forming an IS cell that plotted attacks on German soil.
Zukhurov was the subject of an international arrest warrant issued on April 21 by a federal court in Karlsruhe, Germany.
German prosecutors said Zukhurov was a member of the same group whose members are suspected of planning attacks on behalf of the IS group, including on U.S. Air Force bases in Germany and an unidentified individual they deemed critical of Islam.
Zukhurov's defense lawyer, Asllan Dogjani, denied his client was part of the cell. Dogjani said that before his arrest, Zukhurov had lived in Germany for two years and went to Albania in February to see his aunt, adding that the young man had turned himself in.
German prosecutors said three of the suspects -- all from Tajikistan -- were arrested on April 15 in the city of Siegen and in the towns of Heinsberg and Werdohl in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
The fourth suspect, also a Tajik national believed to be the leader of the terror cell, was already in custody after being detained in March 2019. The men are all aged between 24 and 32, and came to Germany as refugees.
The men joined IS in January 2019 and were instructed by the IS group to form a cell in Germany, German prosecutors said.
They said the attacks were not planned for the immediate future but that the group had already acquired firearms and ammunition, as well as secured directions and precursors for making a bomb from the Internet.
To help finance the terror plans, German prosecutors said the ringleader, identified as Ravshan B., and another suspect traveled to Albania to carry out a $40,000 contract killing, but the operation fell apart and they returned to Germany, the statement added.
The men are alleged to have been in contact with two high-ranking IS figures in Syria and Afghanistan.
In recent years, Germany has seen several terrorist attacks claimed by IS, including a truck rampage through a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016 that left 12 people dead.