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CRIME

‘Veil martyr’ trial delayed by defendant tantrum

The man on trial for murdering Marwa El-Sherbini, a pregnant Egyptian woman who died in a Dresden courtroom, delayed the third day of legal proceedings against him on Wednesday by intentionally banging his head on a table.

'Veil martyr' trial delayed by defendant tantrum
Photo: DPA

The judge said that the Russian-born German defendant Alex Wiens began “acting up” during a vehicle transport between his cell and the courtroom. As he was escorted into the court, he stamped his feet and threw his head against a table – a tantrum that required nine police officers to subdue.

A medical examination showed bruising to Wiens’ head and on other parts of his body, but proceedings were delayed while the court considered a second medical examination. Wiens complained of a headache and his lawyer said he could have a concussion after the incident.

On Monday, El-Sherbini’s husband Elwy Okaz testified against Wiens, describing how he stabbed his wife repeatedly with a kitchen knife in July – in the same building where the current trial is underway.

When Okaz tried to protect his wife, he was also stabbed and severely injured by Wiens. During the altercation, officers in the courtroom also shot Okaz in the leg instead of his attacker.

The couple had been in court to testify against Wiens for defamation after he called El-Sherbini a “terrorist,” an “Islamist” and a “whore” for wearing a headscarf during a dispute at a playground in the eastern German city.

The attack sparked outrage and anti-German protests in the Muslim world, where media dubbed El-Sherbini the “veil martyr.”

A verdict in the trial is expected on November 11.

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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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