BERLIN – An Iraqi man suspected of spreading messages by Al Qaeda leaders on the Internet in the past year was arrested Tuesday in Germany, prosecutors said.
The 36-year-old, who was identified only as Ibrahim R., was arrested near the western city of Osnabrueck, and his apartment was searched, the prosecutors said.
He was accused of spreading audio and video messages by leaders of Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda in Iraq on the Internet from his home "in several cases since Sept. 24, 2005," — and "in doing so of having supported these groups in their terrorist activities and aims."
The prosecutors said the messages were from Usama bin Laden, his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri and former Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike north of Baghdad in June.
Prosecutors did not elaborate on the man's alleged activities or say how he got the messages.
It was unclear whether the man was suspected of posting the messages on the Web himself or of having circulated messages already online, and there also was no word on whether he was believed to have acted alone.
Prosecutors gave no details of the contents of the messages.
The top security official in Lower Saxony state, Uwe Schuenemann, said the man had been under observation for a year because he had been accused of involvement in another crime, of which he gave no details.
The Iraqi had applied for a residence permit, but it had not yet been approved, Schuenemann said.
The man was to be brought before a federal judge Wednesday for a decision on whether he could be held pending possible charges of supporting a terrorist organization — a charge that falls short of membership in a terrorist group.
Germany introduced legislation designed to prosecute supporters of foreign terrorist groups on its soil after it emerged that three of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers had lived and studied in Hamburg.