Two former German soldiers have been convicted of trying to form a terrorist organisation to intervene in the war in Yemen.
The Higher Regional Court in Stuttgart found the pair guilty of trying to establish a mercenary force consisting of former and current Bundeswehr soldiers.
The two men, identified only as Arend-Adolf G. and Achim A. and aged 61 and 53, were handed suspended prison sentences of 18 months and 14 months. As both defendants waived their right to appeal, the verdict is final, reported DW.
During the case it was revealed that the former soldiers came up with the plan in April 2021 to set up a paramilitary unit of 100 to 150 personnel with the intention of seizing territory under the control of the Houthi-led National Salvation Government (NSG), the de-facto authorities based in the capital Sanaa, in order to force peace talks with the Saudi-based internationally-recognised Yemeni government.
Prosecutors said the defendants were influenced by "ideas coloured by Christian fundamentalism" and the predictions of a Turkish fortune-teller as well as being financially motivated.
During the trial, the pair were suspected of looking to advertise their military service for deployments in other conflict zones. According to German news magazine Der Spiegel, the two men worked for the controversial security firm Asgaard after their time in the Bundeswehr as paratroopers.
One of the men is also believed to have attempted to contact Saudi Arabian officials to obtain financial and military support, while his accomplice was responsible for recruiting former and current soldiers.
Despite failing to attract an investor or convincing anyone to join their unit, the pair continued to work on their plan until they were arrested last year following a tip off from Germany's Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD) led to the men being investigated.