Denmark charges 'ISIS fighter' with treason

Prosecutors say the 31-year-old Dane travelled to Syria and fought against the international coalition

(FILES) In this file image grab taken from a propaganda video released on March 17, 2014 by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)'s al-Furqan Media allegedly shows ISIL fighters raising their weapons as they stand on a vehicle mounted with the trademark Jihadists flag at an undisclosed location in the Anbar province. In March 2019, Kurdish forces announced the end of the Islamic State (IS) group's self-proclaimed 'caliphate'. Two years later, the most brutal jihadist organisation in modern history remains as active as it is dangerous. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / HO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS FROM ALTERNATIVE SOURCES, AFP IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DIGITAL ALTERATIONS TO THE PICTURES
 / AFP / AL-FURQAN MEDIA / - / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / HO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS FROM ALTERNATIVE SOURCES, AFP IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DIGITAL ALTERATIONS TO THE PICTURES

Danish prosecutors have for the first time charged a citizen accused of being an ISIS fighter in Syria with treason.

The man was recruited in 2013 and remained with the group for four years until it was defeated on the battlefield, officials said.

The 31-year-old, who has not been identified by authorities, was said to have appeared in an online ISIS video with three other men threatening other Danes and using their images as target practice.

The man has been charged with treason under a law that came into force at the end of 2015 as Denmark was part of the international coalition fighting the terrorist group.

From the eastern city of Aarhus, he faces other charges including recruiting others to the ISIS cause.

He was arrested in 2019 after he was expelled by Turkey and has since remained in prison.

He is due to stand trial in November in a case that is expected to last nearly six months and prosecutors say he faces up to life in prison if found guilty.

The prosecution says it can show that the man signed up for ISIS, joined a combat unit and fought against the coalition when “the Danish state was a party on the opposite side”, said Lise-Lotte Nilas, the public prosecutor for Copenhagen.

She said the case was particularly serious because he fought for a long period of time “until he was no longer able to participate actively because of physical injuries”.

At least 160 people travelled from Denmark to fight in Syria or Iraq, the Danish intelligence service has said.

About a third of them were killed in action. The remainder either stayed in the region, returned to Denmark or travelled to another country.

Denmark has prosecuted a number of returning fighters. Some have been stripped of their citizenship and earmarked for deportation at the completion of their sentences.

Updated: March 10, 2022, 6:45 PM
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