German federal prosecutors said Tuesday they have charged eight people with supporting al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations by allegedly spreading propaganda on the Internet.
The suspects, aged between 17 and 30, were members of the German section of the Global Islamic Media Front, the federal prosecutors said. The charges were filed in a Munich court on Sept. 22. There was no immediate word on when a trial might open.
Authorities say the group used blogs and Internet forums to spread propaganda, some of which was aimed at securing new members or supporters for al-Qaida. The alleged offenses were committed between August 2006 and March 2008.
Four of them _ German citizens identified only as Tarek Alexander H., Daniel P., Renee Marc S. and Jonas T. _ face charges of supporting al-Qaida, al-Qaida in Iraq and Ansar al-Islam, and membership in a criminal organization.
Another four face those charges and additionally are accused of trying to recruit members or supporters for al-Qaida or al-Qaida in Iraq. In keeping with German privacy rules, they were identified only as Harun Can A., Salim Mohammed A. and Vivian S., all German citizens; and Emin T., a Turkish national.
The key figure in the founding and organization of the German section of the Global Islamic Media Front was a man identified only as Mohamed M., who was sentenced to four years in prison in neighboring Austria in March 2008, prosecutors said in a statement.
Mohamed M. was found guilty by a Vienna court of involvement in a March 2007 video threatening Austria and Germany with attacks if they did not withdraw military personnel from Afghanistan.
Prosecutors said one of the men now charged, Renee Marc S., had intended to go to an al-Qaida camp for training. They said he traveled in May 2007 to Tehran but, after failing to reach a smuggler who was supposed to help him get from there to the camp, which they did not further identify, returned home a few days later.