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CRIME

Kidnapped German family may still be alive in Yemen

There have been signs of life from a German family of five who were kidnapped in Yemen this summer, daily Bild reported on Wednesday.

Kidnapped German family may still be alive in Yemen
Photo: DPA

A video from recent weeks in possession of the German government shows the three young children alive, an official revealed to the paper.

“The children look exhausted,” the official said.

The Saxony family of health workers Johannes and Sabine H. has not been seen since they were abducted along with four other foreigners in the country’s Saada province in mid-June. Authorities there believe that the kidnappers may be Shiite rebels from the mountainous region near the Saudi border.

Three of the hostages – two German women and a South Korean woman – were found murdered by Yemeni authorities three days later.

The Foreign Ministry has refused to confirm the report that the children could still be alive, news agency DPA reported.

“The crisis squad continues to find a solution to the problem,” a spokesperson told the agency.

Yemeni officials launched a massive search for the remaining hostages, but since then there has been no trace of the family – which includes Lydia (5), Anna (3) and Simon (1).

Foreigners are often kidnapped in Yemen by tribesmen to be used as bargaining chips in disputes with the government. More than 200 foreigners have been abducted over the past 15 years.

In June 2000, a Norwegian diplomat was killed in a gunfight between police and his abductors.

In December 1998, three Britons and an Australian seized by Islamist militants were killed when security forces stormed the kidnappers’ hideout. In March of this year, four South Korean visitors to Yemen were killed in an Al-Qaeda suicide bombing at a historic tourist site.

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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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