German prosecutors say convicted IS member hid killings

04.01.2017

A German man who had been lauded by a judge for a "wholehearted" confession about his time as a member of the Islamic State group faced new charges of concealing his true involvement with IS, with prosecutors announcing Tuesday that they suspect him of participating in the killing of captives.

Harry Sarfo was convicted last year by a Hamburg court of membership in a terrorist organisation and breaching weapons export laws. The court sentenced him to three years in prison, with the presiding judge stating that his comprehensive testimony during the trial had counted in his favour.    

Federal prosecutors said they have now obtained a new warrant against the 28-year-old on suspicion of murder and committing war crimes in connection with the public execution of six people in a square in Palmyra in June 2015.   

Prosecutors said he led one of the captives to the execution site and prevented others from fleeing.   

The new allegations are at odds with Sarfo's claim in court that he hadn't participated in any killings. Following his conviction last July, Sarfo gave several interviews from prison in which he portrayed himself as disillusioned and disgusted by IS.   

A video published by the Washington Post in October showed Sarfo appearing to take an active role in the executions.   

Born to Ghanaian parents in the northern German city of Bremen, Sarfo converted to Islam after moving to London. He became radicalised while in a German prison for taking part in a robbery and claims to have travelled to Syria in April 2015 to join IS.   

He fled the group several weeks later and was arrested in July 2015 upon his return to Germany.    (AP)

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Debate about the role of Muslims in fighting Islamist terrorism: IS is not just a Muslim problem

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