Teen Islamists given six years' jail for Sikh temple bomb attack
Prosecutors had argued that the three 17-year-olds - who were 16 at the time of the act - had attacked the temple out of radical Islamist motivations to kill “non-believers”. The youth court on Tuesday agreed that their motive had been hate for other religions.
The trial uncovered no evidence of the three having direct contact with terror group Isis.
Two of the three adolescents had set off the bomb in front of the entrance to the temple in April of last year, and were thus found guilty of attempted murder. One of the two was sentenced to seven years in youth detention, while the other received a sentence of six years and nine months.
The third was found guilty of conspiring to murder for participating in the planning and preparation of the attack, and was sentenced to six years in youth detention.
The trio’s homemade bomb exploded last April at a temple belonging to the Sikh Gurdwara Nanaksar congregation, injuring three people, including one Sikh priest seriously.
Hundreds of worshippers regularly visit the temple at weekends to pray and meet other members of the community, and a wedding with dozens of guests had taken place earlier that same day.
Fortunately, only a few people were in the hall at the time of the explosion. Windowpanes shattered with the force of the blast and the door was ripped from its hinges, while parts of the slate facade were also torn away.
News of the attack caused uproar among Sikhs all over the world as new reports, photos and videos were shared online.
The Indian consul-general based in Frankfurt made a special trip to Essen to meet with city authorities.
Most Sikhs live in northern India, but there is a population of more than 13,000 in Germany, many of them based in Cologne.