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Islamic State 'storm trooper' jailed in Germany

Prosecution alleged that the 25-year-old had tracked down IS defectors in Syria despite knowing they would be tortured to death
German police during a raid on a Berlin mosque earlier this month (AFP)

A German court on Friday sentenced a man to four and a half years in prison for working as a "storm trooper" for Islamic State, helping to track down deserters for the group in Syria.

Nils Donath, a 25-year-old German national, had travelled to Syria in October 2013 to join the group, which controls large swathes of land in Syria and Iraq.

Prosecutors, who had sought a sentence of four years and nine months, said at the trial that Donath had helped IS with interrogations, prison guard duty, and had participated in the group's "storm troops," a special assault team.

As a member of this unit, Donath took part in 10-15 missions, in which he helped to track down IS deserters, fully aware they would be tortured to death, according to the prosecution.

Donath has been in police custody since his arrest upon his return to Germany in January 2015. 

During the trial that opened in January, he told the court of his troubled teenage years, when he was a "pothead" before converting to Islam in August 2011.

But he later "slipped into radicalism" and joined a local militant group called the "Lohberger Brigade" with whom he travelled to Syria.

Thousands of Europeans have headed to Syria to fight for the IS group, and concern is growing about the threat that returning militants could pose on their home soil.

Germany, along with many other European states, is considering legal changes that would allow citizenship to be revoked from people who travel to the Middle East and are suspected of fighting alongside militant groups.

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