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Six months for Isis Facebook postings

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Six months for Isis Facebook postings
The trial took place under heightened security. Photo: APA/Hochmuth
12:42 CET+01:00
A court in Vienna has handed a young Kurdish man a six month conditional sentence for posting Islamic State (Isis) images and propaganda on Facebook.

The trial took place amid heightened security, with eight armed and balaclava-clad prison guards stationed outside the courtroom.

The 20-year-old from Vienna had been held in custody in Graz for several weeks. He was one of 13 people arrested in police raids at the end of November and has been linked with Mirsad O., an Islamic preacher and leader of the so-called ‘Bosnian cell’ in Vienna, who is accused of recruiting fighters to join Isis in Syria.

The young man had posted photos of Isis atrocities on his Facebook profile page, including images of decapitated and impaled heads, and had made approving comments under them.

He told the court that he was born in Iraq and had “nothing to do with religion until the age of 15 or 16.” He said he had then realised that he was hanging out with a bad crowd, including "drug dealers, gamblers and idiots" and had begun to turn to religion and prayer.

He said that posting the images on Facebook had been "really stupid”, and that he had wanted to "provoke" his former friends and acquaintances. “Decapitating someone is really disgusting, I’m the kind of person who can’t even stand the sight of his own blood,” he told the judge.

However, Judge Daniel Rechenmacher was not convinced and sentenced the 20-year-old to six months in prison.

As he has no previous criminal record he was given a conditional sentence and three-year probationary period. He told the judge that being arrested “had really opened his eyes” and said that he was hoping to become a personal trainer and work in a gym once he had completed his sentence.

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