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Weatherman Kachelmann released from jail

Four months after he was arrested for allegedly raping his girlfriend, weatherman Jörg Kachelmann was released from custody on Thursday.

Weatherman Kachelmann released from jail
Photo: DPA

A court in Karlsruhe ruled that there were now no immediate grounds for holding Kachelmann, 52, and ordered that the Swiss-born former television weatherman be released.

The ruling does not, however, mean that Kachelmann is off the hook: he still faces trial in September for allegedly threatening his long-term girlfriend with a knife and raping her.

Kachelmann was arrested at Frankfurt airport and has been imprisoned on remand since March 20 at a prison in Mannheim.

The court decided the evidence against him was not sufficient to continue holding him in custody. The complainant, Kachelmann’s girlfriend, was the sole prosecution witness and the case was therefore “her word against his,” the court said.

It could not be ruled out that the complainant had made false accusations, nor that she herself caused the injuries she claimed to have suffered during the rape, the court said.

Kachelmann’s lawyer, Reinhard Birkenstock, said: “Thank God there are still judges.”

The Karlsruhe court had “limited a justice scandal,” he said. He also thanked experts whose analyses of the evidence “brought the truth to light.”

Birkenstock said he was now preparing for the main trial, which begins on September 6 in Mannheim. Kachelmann is accused of threatening his long-term girlfriend with a knife and raping her. He denies the charges.

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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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