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Germany Sentences Al-Qaida Member to Prison

Al-Qaida suspect Rami Makanesi greets friends prior to the start of his trial in a court room in Frankfurt, May 9, 2011

A court in Germany has sentenced a German man of Syrian origin to four years and nine months in prison after he admitted he belonged to al-Qaida.

The Frankfurt court sentenced Rami Makanesi on Monday after he confessed on the opening day of his trial that he was a member of al-Qaida and trained at one of its paramilitary camps in Pakistan. In exchange, he was given a reduced sentence.

Makanesi left Germany for Pakistan in 2009 to undergo training at a camp in the Waziristan border region. Prosecutors said the 25-year-old had planned to return to Germany to raise funds for al-Qaida and take part in terrorist operations. He was arrested in Pakistan in June 2010 and extradited to Germany two months later.

During his trial, Makanesi cooperated with authorities, outlining planned terror attacks that allowed for increased security measures. His cooperation opened the door to a plea deal under which prosecutors and the defense agreed to a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.