A Danish court on Monday found two Danish brothers of Somali origin guilty of plotting a terrorist attack with Somalia’s Islamist Shebab rebels and sentenced them to three and a half years in prison.
The Aarhus district court found that Guleed Mohamed Warsame, 24, and Nuur Mohamed Warsame, 19, had conspired to send, and had sent, the 24-year-old to a Shebab-run training camp in Somalia.
The court found he had spent several months in a training camp near Mogadishu, before returning to Denmark in March 2012. His brother had stayed behind in Aarhus, where they have lived for more than 16 years.
The conviction is the first under a new Danish law against training with the aim of carrying out a terrorist act.
The two men, who had both pleaded not guilty, immediately appealed the verdict.
They were meanwhile acquitted of a charge of conspiring to send funds to the Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab, which is on the EU and US lists of terrorist organisations.
The prosecution had called for sentences of five years each for the brothers, while defence attorneys called for mild sentences as neither of the brothers had actually set any terrorist activities in motion.
“They planned the training together and so should have the same sentence,” prosecutor Torben Thygesen told the court as he summed up his arguments, daily Politiken reported.
After an offensive launched in mid-2011 by an African Union force, the Shebab lost their main strongholds in Somalia’s south and centre. They still control some rural areas, however.
Monday’s sentence came a day after Denmark’s intelligence service said that over the past six months, some 45 young Danes had gone to fight in Syria, and called on parents, mosques and society to try to stop the traffic.