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Life sought for killer of Egyptian 'veil martyr'

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Life sought for killer of Egyptian 'veil martyr'
Photo: DPA
17:58 CEST+02:00
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."

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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