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German Jihadist Gets Two Years In Jail For Posing with Severed Heads

This is Germany’s first trial involving Islamic State war crimes.

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A German jihadist was sentenced to two years in prison Tuesday after posing in pictures in Syria with the severed and impaled heads of two government troops. The trial is Germany’s first involving Islamic State war crimes.

Aria Ladjevardi, a 21-year old German with Iranian roots, was sentenced by a regional court in Frankfurt. The court found that the man was radicalized in Germany and then traveled to Syria, where he joined up with a militant identified only as Vedat V.

According to the court, in March or April of 2014, Vedat V. and other jihadists attacked a Syrian army checkpoint near the town of Binnish. There, they captured two government soldiers, beheaded them both, then impaled their heads on metal rods.

“The accused posed with the dismembered heads and let himself be photographed three times, so as to mock and belittle the deceased, whom he considered ‘dishonourable infidels,’” the court said in a statement.

Vedat V. then posted the images to Facebook. Copies were also found on the phone of Ladjevardi’s mother and on a computer in Germany.

Ladjevardi maintains he was forced to be in the picture and that he “could not imagine they would be circulated on social media.” While he admitted he received weapons training, he insisted he did not fight as a member of of jihadist group in Syria.

Photo credit: DAVID HECKER/Getty Images

David Francis was a senior reporter for Foreign Policy, where he covered international finance. @davidcfrancis

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