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CRIME

Swiss schoolboys jailed over Munich assaults

Three Swiss schoolboys who went on a violent rampage while on a class trip in Munich last year, indiscriminately beating five passers-by and leaving two with life-threatening injuries, were sentenced to lengthy jail terms on Monday.

Swiss schoolboys jailed over Munich assaults
Judge Reinhold Baier leaves the court on Monday. Photo: DPA

Mike B. and Benjamin D., both 16 at the time of the rampage in June 2009, were found guilty of attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm. They were sentenced to seven years, and four years and 10 months, respectively.

The third attacker, Ivan Z., was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm and sentenced to two years, 10 months’ jail.

The trio had been in the Bavarian capital on a class trip from Switzerland to mark the end of their exams. They were celebrating with other classmates by drinking and smoking marijuana in a park.

At some point the mood changed decisively and the trio went on a rampage, first attacking three men in the park, then seriously bashing a businessman, causing life-threatening injuries, and finally beating up another student. The businessman, a father from Ratingen in North Rhine-Westphalia, needed several operations and still has not fully recovered from his injuries.

Shortly after the attacks, state prosecutor Laurent Lafleur told Focus magazine that one of the victims had been a disabled man from Macedonia whom the trio beat until he lost consciousness.

One of the attackers then took a run up and kicked his head which was flopping over the edge of a park bench.

“One can only speak of good luck that the man did not suffer a broken neck and die,” said Lafleur.

During the eight month trial, which took place behind closed doors because the defendants were minors, the trio apologised and reached an agreement to pay compensation to four of their victims.

The state prosecutor had called for Mike B. to be sentenced to nine years’ jail, Benjamin D. to seven years and Ivan Z. to six.

DPA/The Local/dw

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GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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