A fighter from the self-styled “Islamic State” (IS) group stood trial in Düsseldorf on Wednesday facing serious charges of committing war crimes, in addition to murder. This is the second time that the 29-year-old has stood trial for terror-related offenses, but his earlier trial and conviction was on the lesser charge of membership of a terrorist organization, for which he received a four and a half years in prison.
Identified as Nils D., he appeared at the Düsselsdorf high court where he was accused of torturing prisoners as a member of Islamic State in the town of Manbij in Syria.
According to a representative for the Federal Prosecutor, three victims died as a result of the torture.
In addition, the prosecution said that he was a member of a group of IS fighters who worked inside a prison in Syria in 2014. The prison specifically contained defectors and deserters from IS.
The defendant declined to comment on any of the charges brought against him.
The defendant, who hails from the western German town of Dinslaken, was also a member of the “Lohberger Brigade,” which supports IS in Syria, in his hometown.
Initially he was arrested on his return from Syria to Germany in 2015. He confessed to working for the IS “secret police,” which aim to intimidate the local population and arrest “deserters.” At the time it was thought his role there solely involved arresting people and acting as a guard for the group’s torture prisons.
The trial comes as many nations are confronted with how best to deal with IS members returning to their home countries since IS lost the territory it briefly controlled straddling Iraq and Syria.