German Court Sentences 15-Year-Old Boy to Four Years for Plotting Islamic Extremist Attack on Christmas Market

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A German court has convicted a 15-year-old boy of planning an Islamic extremist attack on a Christmas market and has sentenced him to four years in prison.

A German court convicted a 15-year-old boy on Friday for planning an Islamic extremist attack on a Christmas market and sentenced him to four years in prison. The Cologne state court, following proceedings under juvenile law conducted behind closed doors, found the boy guilty of conspiracy to murder and disturbing the public peace by threatening crimes, according to German news agency dpa. The defendant's identity remains undisclosed in adherence to German privacy regulations.

The teenager was apprehended near Cologne in November. The court determined that he had radicalized in the fall and quickly collaborated with a 16-year-old associate to target a Christmas market in Leverkusen. The plan involved the defendant driving a rented truck into the market to maximize casualties, while his accomplice intended to film the assault. The court's verdict stated that the defendant had posted a video in a chat group announcing an attack on "infidels," with an Islamic State group symbol visible in the background.

Although the German legal system does not include formal pleas, the court noted that the 15-year-old admitted to the charges brought against him. His alleged accomplice, also accused of conspiracy to murder, is scheduled to stand trial on July 17 in Neuruppin, near Berlin in eastern Germany.