VIENNA – An Austrian court has found nine people guilty of trying to join Islamic extremists in Syria and a 10th of planning to drive them there and sentenced them to prison terms of between one and three years.
The nine men and one woman were stopped last year before leaving Austrian territory. But judge Andreas Hautz said Tuesday their plans to fight with extremists or at least support them made them guilty of "criminal association."
Defense lawyers had argued that their clients were en route not to Syria but to Bulgaria or Turkey for a holiday. They also questioned the ruling, saying "criminal association" cannot begin before someone actually joins a banned group or organization.
The Interior Ministry says about 200 Austrians have gone to fight in Syria's four-year conflict.