July 22, 2015 / 7:34 AM / 2 years ago

Austrian court jails Chechen for joining jihadis in Syria

VIENNA (Reuters) - An Austrian court sentenced a Chechen to five years in jail on terror charges after he traveled to Syria in 2013, the latest and one of the toughest verdicts in a string of Islamic State-related cases in Austria.

The 30-year-old Chechen, identified as Magomed Z., was convicted of participating in terrorism and possessing child pornography but acquitted of receiving combat training in Syria. He had faced up to 10 years in prison on the terrorism charge alone.

The Chechen had pleaded not guilty to all charges, saying he had gone to Syria only to help refugees and to search for the son of a relative.

Both the prosecutors and Magomed Z. will appeal the sentence, a spokesman for the court in the Austrian town of Krems said.

Earlier this month, a Vienna court sentenced a 17-year-old Austrian youth to two-and-a-half years in jail for supporting Islamic State in Syria.

In June, an Austrian court sentenced 10 people to up to three years in jail for trying to link up with radical Islamists in Syria. In May, a 14-year-old boy from Austria who downloaded bomb-making plans onto his Playstation games console was sentenced to two years.

Around 230 people, roughly half of them Chechens, have traveled from Austria to fight with jihadis in the Middle East, according to the interior ministry.

Reporting By Shadia Nasralla, editing by Larry King

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