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German man sentenced for joining ISIS

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Zach McAuliffe
Zach McAuliffe is a University of Dayton alumni with degrees in journalism and English. He wants to present people with all the facts they need to make informed decisions on the world around them. He also enjoys Shakespeare and long walks on the beach with his puppy Lily.

In Germany, a 20-year-old man, who has been identified as Kreshnik Berisha, has been sentenced to nearly four years in jail after he admitted to joining ISIS fighters in Syria.

Berisha, according to Reuters spent six months in Syria last year, training and fighting alongside Islamic State militants.  However, the German court said there was no conclusive evidence to support the claim that he had been directly involved in any combat or fighting.

Originally, the prosecution sought four years and three months of jail time for Berisha.  Although, because he was perceived by the German judges to lack the maturity of an adult, he was sentenced to three years and nine months as a juvenile.

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In the German court system, a person between the ages of 18-21 can be tried as a juvenile if they are thought to lack the maturity of an adult.

“As a youth he was not able to resist the influence of his Islamist friends,” said chief judge Thomas Sagebiel, according to Newsweek.  The judges are hoping the juvenile sentence will have the necessary educational effects to rehabilitate Berisha since he displayed radical Islamic attitudes.

Berisha’s attorney told the courts he went to Syria to fight against and overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.  He then admitted to the court that he had received weapons training from ISIS fighters and he had joined the Islamic State.

It is estimated that about 550 German citizens have traveled to the Middle East in order to join ISIS, while thousands of others from other Western nations have made the same trip.

British and French courts have also sentenced their citizens to jail time after they traveled to the Middle East to support ISIS.  French courts sentenced one man, who spent only 10 days in Syria, to seven years in prison.  British courts sentenced two brothers to three-and-a-half years in prison for being trained in Syria.

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