A Danish court sentenced a 35-year-old Syrian national to 16 years in prison on Tuesday after finding him guilty of attempted terrorism and of financing and promoting a terrorist organization.
The court in Holbæk, in the suburbs of Copenhagen, found it had been proven that Ali Al Masry had planned and prepared a terrorist attack either in Denmark or abroad.
He was tried alongside his Iraqi-born, 31-year-old wife and his 37-year-old older brother, both of whom also received minor custodial sentences of nine and six months in prison, respectively, for financing terrorist activity after transferring funds to Al Masry.
The sentence is the most severe punishment imposed by a Danish court in a case of terrorism to date, with some of the presiding judges and jurors believing the sentence should have been even higher.
The Syrian national was arrested on Feb. 6, 2021, along with his wife and several members of his family following a tip-off from German police.
After conducting a search of his villa in the town of Holbæk, Danish authorities recovered 16 kilos of chemicals that can be used to make bombs, in addition to parts of a remote-controlled car that was capable of transporting a bomb weighing up to 20 kilos.
A scan of Al Masry’s computer and personal cell phone recovered bomb manuals and a large quantity of Islamic State propaganda materials, including a number of suicide videos and writings about jihad, according to Danish media.
“There are simply no mitigating circumstances in this case. There is nothing worse than the killing of innocent random people,” prosecutor John Catre Nielsen told the court ahead of sentencing.
In addition to his incarceration, the court imposed on Al Masry a contact ban, meaning he must not have contact with other radicalized people for a period of 10 years, as well as a deportation order requiring his removal from Denmark after serving his sentence.
Al Masry’s Iraqi-born, 31-year-old wife was convicted of transferring $750 to her husband, who is understood to have been on the Islamic State’s payroll at the time of the transfer.
The court agreed with the woman’s defense attorney that she should not be deported back to Iraq because she has nothing there for her to be able to cope in the country, despite the protestations of the prosecution.
“There is no family in Iraq that can take her in and help her. She has lived in Denmark for more than 23 years of her 31-year-old life, speaks fluent Danish and poor Arabic. It would be equivalent to sending me to Iraq,” said her defense attorney during the sentencing hearing.
Al Masry’s older brother, who is 37 years old and was also found guilty of assisting with money transfers to his brother, will be deported following his six month sentence.
It is understood that with the inclusion of time already served, the terrorist’s brother will remain in custody until Jan. 17, when it will again be assessed whether his detention should continue. Upon his release, he will be expelled from Denmark for six years.
Al Masry’s defense attorney asked the court for leave to appeal, and the convicted terrorist has two weeks to decide whether he wishes to appeal the verdict in Denmark’s appellate court.