Hezbollah commander jailed in Austria for terrorism crimes

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Lebanese man seeking asylum in Europe underwent training in Iran and headed a group of 60 fighters

Jamie Prentis

Sep 2, 2020

September 2, 2020

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A Lebanese Hezbollah commander who underwent military training in Iran has been jailed for nine years in Austria after being convicted of terrorism charges.

The unnamed 41-year-old was accused of being a member of Hezbollah since 2006 and having temporarily commanded a unit of 60 fighters on the border of Syria. The indictment said he also recruited 250 people over the age of 14 to join Hezbollah.

MPs in Austria have called on the European Union to proscribe the entire Lebanese group as a terrorist organisation instead of only its military wing.

The court heard that the man was not merely a minor figure in Hezbollah but an important one, as shown by the ideological training he had undergone in Iran.

Some of the information about his membership in the group was provided by the man as part of his asylum application.

After he was found guilty, the man protested violently and it took three police officers to escort him out of the courtroom. He was then taken to hospital for a check-up.

The man can appeal against the verdict.

The map reveals extensive funding operations centred on Europe. Courtesy of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
The map reveals extensive funding operations centred on Europe. Courtesy of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

The status of Hezbollah in Austria and the wider EU has been the subject of controversy in 2020 with the bloc so far refusing to blacklist the organisation’s political party.

Legislators from Europe and the United States have urged Brussels not to distinguish between Hezbollah’s different wings.

In April, Germany banned the group in its entirety and blamed it for numerous terrorist attacks and kidnappings.

Updated: September 2, 2020 04:14 PM

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