July 15, 2015 / 4:43 PM / in 2 years

Austria convicts teenager of supporting Islamic State

VIENNA (Reuters) - An Vienna court sentenced a 17-year-old Austrian youth to two-and-a-half years in jail on Wednesday for supporting Islamic State in Syria.

Vienna-born Oliver Naujoks, who had converted to Islam, was found guilty of being a member of a terrorist group and incitement to commit terrorist offences, his lawyer Wolfgang Blaschwitz said.

A spokeswoman for the Vienna court said the teenager traveled to Syria in summer last year to join the militant group, which is fighting to create an Islamic state in the region.

He returned to Austria in March after having been seriously injured, losing his spleen, one kidney and half of his lung. He has been held in custody since then.

The court spokeswoman, who did not name the youth, said he was acquitted of a charge of directly taking part in hostilities because there was not sufficient evidence. He himself has said that he worked as an ambulance driver.

In an interview with an Austrian newspaper, the teenager said he joined Islamic State because he was searching for a family, for love and recognition.

“First come, first served,” he was quoted as saying. “I would also have joined a yoga group if they had asked me at the time.”

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Ros Russell

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