‘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.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


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.