Friday, November 5, 2010

Wife of German Islamic convert on trial for supporting terrorism; man arrested

Filiz Gelowicz, wife of German terrorist Fritz Gelowicz who was sentenced to 12 years in prison, waits behind security glass for the start of a trial against her on the suspicion of supporting foreign Islamic terrorist groups at a court in Berlin, Friday, Nov. 5, 2010

She's a Turk but her husband is a German. I think what happens is that these guys convert to Islam, and find that the Muslim world isn't all that Muslims said it would be. But to maintain that utopian image, they join the Islamic fighters. To fight for a reality that doesn't currently exist.

Berlin - The wife of a jailed German Islamist remained silent in a Berlin court on Friday, as she went on trial for allegedly supporting a militant group affiliated with al-Qaeda.

The 29-year-old woman is married to Fritz Gelowicz, a German convert to Islam who was sentenced in March to 12 years in prison, for leading an Islamist conspiracy to attack discos, airports and US army bases in Germany.

The four members of the so-called Sauerland Group, headed by Gelowicz, were arrested in 2007, after their plot to manufacture and plant explosives was monitored for months by intelligence agents.

A man was also arrested Friday in the western German town of Neunkirchen in relation to videos posted on the internet, threatening terrorist attacks if a jailed Sauerland Group member was not released.

Around 12 officers wrestled the man to the ground early Friday, after weeks of surveillance.

Police said three video threats had been posted mid-October on the social media site YouTube, demanding the release of Sauerland Group member Daniel Schneider, who was also from Neunkirchen.
Schneider had distanced himself from the videos and rejected the attempt to secure his release by extortion, in a statement issued by his lawyer.

In the Berlin courtroom, Gelowicz' wife - a German of Turkish descent - arrived in a black burqa, which she lowered to reveal her face after the press photographers had left the room.

On trial alongside her is a 21-year-old man. Both are accused of financially supporting the Islamic Jihad Union and the German Taliban Mujahideen militant Islamist groups, as well as distributing propaganda material on the Internet.

Several police officers secured the courtroom, where the presiding judge threatened to fine members of the public who refused to stand at the start of the trial, out of apparent solidarity with the accused.

The prosecution charged that the defendants had supported organizations which aimed to kill, and alleged that they had spread Islamist ideologies on the internet, glorifying jihad - or holy war - and arguing that suicide bombings were legitimate forms of attack.

The defendants were also accused of recruiting new members to militant Islamist causes.
A third suspect is due to go on trial at a later date. He disappeared whilst on bail and was later arrested in Turkey, where he is awaiting extradition.


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