German court convicts a 15-year-old of planning an extremist attack on a Christmas market

BERLIN (AP) — A German court on Friday convicted a 15-year-old boy of plotting an Islamic extremist attack on a Christmas market and gave him a four-year sentence.

The Cologne state court said the boy was convicted of conspiracy to murder and disturbing the public peace by threatening crimes, German news agency dpa reported. The proceedings were conducted behind closed doors under juvenile law, and the defendant’s name wasn’t released in line with German privacy rules.

The teenager was detained in November near Cologne. The court found that he became radicalized last fall and, within a few weeks, had agreed with a 16-year-old acquaintance to attack a Christmas market in Leverkusen.

The plan was for the defendant to drive a rented truck into the market and kill as many visitors as possible, while his accomplice was to film the attack, the court said. According to the verdict, the defendant posted a video in a chat group announcing an attack on “infidels,” with a symbol of the Islamic State group visible in the background.

There are no formal pleas in the German legal system, but the court said the 15-year-old admitted to the charges against him.

His alleged accomplice, who also is accused of conspiracy to murder, is due to go on trial July 17 in Neuruppin, near Berlin in eastern Germany.

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