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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Germany arrests seven suspected members of IS fundraising network

German prosecutors said Wednesday they had arrested seven people accused of collecting money to send to the Islamic State group in Syria.

Germany arrests seven suspected members of IS fundraising network

The four Germans, a German-Moroccan dual national, one Kosovar and a Turkish citizen, were accused of belonging “to an international network that supported the terrorist activities of the Islamic State in Syria through financial donations”, the federal prosecutor’s office said.

Starting in 2020, the group used the Telegram messaging service to appeal for contributions, prosecutors said.

Their network included financial intermediaries who “collected money or set up accounts” for the donations.

From these accounts the money was transferred to IS members in Syria or to designated middlemen.

The funds were used to support IS members detained in northern Syrian camps and in some cases helped finance their escape, prosecutors said.

In total, 65,000 were collected through the network.

The seven suspects were said to have acted as financial intermediaries and played a “central role” in the fundraising group, prosecutors said.

The arrests were part of a nationwide swoop against people who had made donations to IS via the group.

Over 1,000 police officers searched over 90 properties across Germany on Wednesday.

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