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CRIME

Life sought for killer of Egyptian ‘veil martyr’

German prosecutors said on Tuesday they would push for a life sentence against a man charged with the brutal xenophobic murder of a pregnant Egyptian woman, dubbed the "veil martyr."

Life sought for killer of Egyptian 'veil martyr'
Photo: DPA

Prosecutors in the eastern city of Dresden said Alex W., a 28-year-old Russian-born German, was motivated by “a pronounced hatred of non-Europeans and Muslims.” As psychiatric experts had found no evidence of diminished responsibility, prosecutors said they would seek a life sentence.

Further information on when a trial might take place will be announced later in the week, they said.

On July 1, Alex W. set upon Marwa al-Sherbini as she gave evidence against him in a court in Dresden, stabbing her 16 times in the chest and back with an 18-cm-long (seven-inch) knife in front of her young son, the prosecution said.

The death of the 31-year-old fuelled anti-German sentiment in some Muslim countries including in her home country and Iran. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed the German government for the killing, while demonstrations were staged outside the German embassies in Tehran and Cairo.

The murderer, who previously called the headscarf-wearing Sherbini an “Islamist” and a “terrorist,” also stabbed her geneticist husband Elwy Okaz, who was shot in the leg by confused courtroom police who took him for the attacker. The man has also been charged with Okaz’s attempted murder and grievous bodily harm.

Alex W. is a Spätaussiedler, or “late emigrant”, the name given to eastern

Europeans of German descent entitled to German citizenship. They have settled in Dresden in large numbers following the reunification of Germany in 1990.

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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