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'Veil martyr' trial delayed by defendant tantrum

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'Veil martyr' trial delayed by defendant tantrum
Photo: DPA
14:47 CET+01:00
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.

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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