January 11, 2018 / 4:21 PM / a year ago

Germany's top court overturns acquittal of 'Sharia Police'

FILE PHOTO: Islamist preacher Sven Lau delivers a speech during a pro-Islam demonstration in Cologne, Germany June 9, 2012. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s federal supreme court on Thursday overturned the 2016 acquittal of seven Muslim men who formed a Sharia street patrol in the western German city of Wuppertal, according to its website.

The men walked the streets of Wuppertal at night wearing orange vests emblazoned with the words “Sharia Police” and sought to discourage young men from visiting bars and brothels and drinking alcohol.

The group, including Islamist preacher Sven Lau who was sentenced to a prison term for supporting a foreign terrorist organisation in July, had been charged with breaking German laws prohibiting uniforms expressing a shared political opinion.

A lower court in Wuppertal had acquitted them, saying the men’s uniforms were not threatening or intimidating.

The federal supreme court, ordering a retrial, said on Thursday that decision did not explain how the men’s action might have affected the people they targeted.

Reporting By Riham Alkousaa; editing by Ralph Boulton

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