A court in Germany has sentenced five Tajik nationals to lengthy prison terms after finding them guilty of being members of the Islamic State (IS) terror group’s cell that planned terrorist attacks in Germany and elsewhere.

Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service reported on June 1 that the Higher Regional Court of Dusseldorf said on May 31 that the Tajik men, aged 25 to 34, were sentenced to prison terms between three years and eight months to nine years and six months.

According to the court, the five men were in contact with groups involved in the Stockholm truck attack of April 2017 and those involved in the killing of four people in Vienna in November 2020.

According to RFE/RL’s Tajik Service, investigators said at the trial that in 2020, the group planned to murder a critic of Islam, but police thwarted the attack.

Before their arrest, the five Tajiks reportedly lived in different cities in  North Rhine Westphalia Land (a state) in western Germany. 

Tajik authorities say that since 2013, some 2,000 Tajik citizens have joined IS and other terrorist groups led by Islamist extremists in Syria and Iraq.

Hundreds of them were killed and wounded there, while some managed to return to Tajikistan. Many of those who came back were amnestied, but some were handed lengthy prison terms on terrorism and mercenary charges, RFE/RL noted.