Austrian boy faces terrorism charges in ‘Playstation’ case

Lawyer for a 14-year-old Austrian boy of Turkish origin facing charges of preparing to join militants in Syria and researching how to build a bomb after downloading plans on to his Playstation games console says he will plead guilty.

SANKT POELTEN, AUSTRIA (MAY 26, 2015) (REUTERS) – A 14-year-old Austrian boy entered court on Tuesday (May 26) to face charges of preparing to join militants in Syria and researching how to build a bomb, after downloading plans on to his Playstation games console.

The teenager, whose family comes from Turkey, faces up to five years in jail if the court in Sankt Poelten, the capital of Lower Austria, convicts him of supporting a terrorist organisation and planning an attack.

“He will plead guilty, he did it. He did do this. That was his belief at the time. His belief has changed now. He hopes that the court will see this,” defence lawyer Rudolf Meyer told reporters ahead of the start of the trial.

The boy, whose name was given as Mertkan G., was detained for a second time in January on suspicion of terrorism-related activity after having been briefly placed in investigative custody and then released under conditions in October.

Asked why he thought the boy became radicalised, Meyer said that social exclusion and discrimination were key factors.

“If the Western states don’t see that one has to spend money urgently to fight radicalisation, it won’t just be him but many thousands of other youths as well,” he said.

The verdict is expected later on Tuesday.