Germany arrests 7 people accused of jointly raising $73,000 for ISIS
Stars and Stripes May 31, 2023
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Seven people in four German states were arrested Wednesday and are being held on suspicion of providing monetary support to the Islamic State terrorist group.
Four arrests took place in North Rhine-Westphalia and one each in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Rheinland-Pfalz and Bremen, the Karlsruhe-based federal prosecutor's office said in a statement Wednesday.
The three men and four women are accused of collecting and distributing almost $75,000 for ISIS in Syria. Most of them are German nationals, but some have Kosovar, Moroccan or Turkish citizenship.
They were identified as Chahira A., Kujtim B., Alperen K., Cagla K., Siham O., Anna Y. and Harun Y. The full last names were withheld in accordance with German privacy laws.
"The funds were primarily used to improve the living conditions of (ISIS) members detained in the northern Syrian camps of Al-Hol and Roj," the federal prosecutor's office said. "In some cases, the funds enabled the detainees to escape or be smuggled out of the camps."
All seven of those arrested Wednesday are suspected of supporting the terrorist organization as financial intermediaries by collecting donations and transferring them to ISIS, according to the statement.
Authorities also searched at more than 90 locations throughout Germany and also in the Netherlands.
Since 2020, two ISIS supporters based in Syria have been recruiting donations through the messaging app Telegram, authorities said following the arrests.
"The network included facilitators who collected funds and provided bank accounts or digital donation platforms," according to the statement.
A total of $73,000 was transferred to ISIS members in Syria or intermediaries designated by them, prosecutors said.
Campaigns on social media platforms with titles such as “Your Sister in the Camp” have been ongoing for several years in Germany, national broadcasting service ARD reported Wednesday.
Their purpose is to provide financial support to ISIS women living with their children in Syria.
There have been numerous reports of women, children and teenagers who still consider themselves part of ISIS being smuggled out of the camp for substantial sums of money.
Of the dozens of ISIS women who have returned to Germany in recent years, many have been detained and brought to trial. Some returned with their children from Syria through repatriation efforts, while others were deported or returned on their own, ARD reported.
Participating in or supporting ISIS activities has been illegal in Germany since 2014. This ban includes involvement in social media and demonstrations in support of ISIS, as well fundraising and recruiting fighters for the terrorist group.