German Man Gets 8 Years in Prison for Al Qaeda Membership

A German man of Pakistani heritage was convicted Monday of membership in Al Qaeda and sentenced to eight years in prison for his active support of the terrorist group.

A state court in Koblenz convicted 47-year-old Aleem Nasir after an eight-month trial during which he made no statement. He had been held in detention since his February 2008 arrest at his home in southwestern Germany.

In addition to the terrorism charges, Nasir was convicted of eight counts of violating German export laws.

Judge Angelika Blettner said Nasir's contacts with high-ranking figures in Pakistan dated back to November 2003 and that he subsequently supplied the group with some $111,000 in cash, along with equipment such as binoculars, night-vision goggles, laser range-finders and radios.

In 2006, he participated in fighting against U.S. forces in Afghanistan's Paktika province, the judge said. The court also found that Nasir recruited four people to undergo military training.

Nasir was arrested in Pakistan in 2007 and held in custody there for two months before his return to Germany.

The defense team had sought Nasir's acquittal. His lawyer, Michael Huerth, said he reserved the right to appeal Monday's verdict.