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Germany Charges Five Tajiks Over Islamic State Membership

Police officers take part in a search at a mosque in Hamburg, Germany, in 2016.

German prosecutors say they have charged five Tajik men with being members of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, accusing them of preparing acts of violence in Germany by raising funds and recruiting members for attacks.

Federal prosecutors filed the indictment at the Duesseldorf state court on February 15, where an alleged associate of the five, also a Tajik citizen, was handed a 7 year prison sentence.

The suspects now charged were identified only as Farhodshoh K., Muhammadali G., Azizjon B., Sunatullokh K., and Komron B., due to German privacy rules. They were arrested last year.

"The aim of the cell members, who were in contact with IS leaders in Syria and Afghanistan, was to take up the armed struggle against what they saw as 'infidels' and to commit attacks in Germany," the indictment read.

The prosecutors said the network raised funds for IS operations and recruited would-be attackers. They also allegedly acquired components for an “unconventional” bomb.

They also said the five Tajiks trained with paintball games to improve their military skills. Some of the sessions' participants were believed to have had contact with the dual national of Austria and North Macedonia who killed four people in a rampage in Vienna in November 2020.

Azizijon B. is accused of being an IS member since at least March 2017 and of carrying out instructions from high-ranking IS leaders in Afghanistan. He also allegedly recruited members for IS in Germany, leading to the founding of the cell in January 2019.

Farhodshoh K. and Ravsan B. are accused of traveling to Albania in 2019 to carry out a contract killing that was intended to finance IS to the tune of $40,000.

The men had allegedly already begun spying on the intended victim and had planned to circulate pictures of the body on the Internet as IS propaganda.

That killing was called off because doubts arose over the intended victim’s identity.

IS-linked militants have committed several violent attacks in Germany in recent years, including a ramming attack at a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016 that killed 12 people.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP