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German-Afghan man accused of al Qaeda membership

Ahmad Wali Siddiqui was captured by US troops in Afghanistan in July 2010.



Berlin: A German-Afghan man whose information
helped prompt terrorism warnings across Europe in 2010 goes on
trial on Monday on charges that he was a member of al Qaeda and
another terrorist group.

Ahmad Wali Siddiqui was captured by US troops in
Afghanistan in July 2010 and while in custody provided details
on alleged al Qaeda plots supposedly targeting European
cities. No attacks materialised.

Attorney Michael Rosenthal, who represents Siddiqui, said
the indictment is based largely on statements made by his
client to authorities and that Siddiqui plans to address the
court as the trial opens in Koblenz state court. He would not
give details.

The 37-year-old Siddiqui faces a possible 10 years in
prison if convicted of membership in al Qaeda and the Islamic
Movement of Uzbekistan.

Siddiqui trained with both terrorist groups in Pakistan
and in the border region with Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010,
with the aim of taking part in violent jihad, or holy war,
according to the indictment.

Authorities have said he was one of about a dozen radical
Muslims who left the northern port city of Hamburg in 2009 to
pursue terrorist training in the border region. Several of
them have been captured or killed.

Another member of the group, German-Syrian dual national
Rami Makanesi, was convicted last year in a Frankfurt state
court of membership in al Qaeda and sentenced to four years
and nine months. He was arrested in Pakistan in June 2010 and
then extradited to Germany.

Prosecutors maintain Siddiqui received general military
training at a camp run by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
and helped produce a German-language propaganda film.

In the summer of 2009, he decided to leave the group`s
camp, and moved to an al Qaeda training area where he learned
how to use heavy weapons, including anti-tank weapons and
mortars, prosecutors said.

In June 2010, a "high-ranking al Qaeda member" instructed
Siddiqui to return to Germany to become part of a European
network of the terrorist organisation, prosecutors said in a
statement when Siddiqui was charged.

"The network was supposed to secure financial support for
the organisation, but at the same time be ready for other, not
yet concrete, orders from the al Qaeda leadership," the
statement said.

German magazine Der Spiegel, which obtained the full
114-page indictment, identified the al Qaeda leader behind the
orders as Younis al-Mauritani, who was apprehended in 2011 by
Pakistani agents working with the CIA.

PTI

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