A court in Beirut has handed down jail terms to two Lebanese men over a failed bomb attack on trains in Cologne in Germany. One man, Youssef al-Haj Deeb, was sentenced in absentia to life in prison. Today he went on trial on the same charges in Germany. Another man being held in Beirut, Jihad Hamad, was jailed for 12 years.
Both were convicted in Lebanon of attempted mass murder. The men are accused of hiding propane gas bombs in suitcases and placing them on two trains last year.
At the start of Haj Deeb’s trial in Dusseldrof, prosecutors say both men planned the attacks to “kill an undetermined number of people”. They say the bombs did not detonate because the devices were faulty.
However, defence lawyers claim the men had deliberately built the bombs so they would not explode. They say it was a protest against cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, and the aim was to scare people, not cause harm.