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CRIME

Policeman who shot husband of Dresden ‘veil martyr’ cleared

German investigators have dropped an investigation into a policeman who shot an Egyptian trying to save his pregnant wife being stabbed to death in a Dresden courtroom in July.

Policeman who shot husband of Dresden 'veil martyr' cleared
Photo: DPA

The policeman, who has not been named, shot Elwy Okaz in the leg because he mistakenly believed that Okaz was the attacker, prosecutors said Wednesday.

In fact, Okaz was trying to protect his wife Marwa El-Sherbini, 31, later dubbed the “veil martyr”, from a frenzied knife attack by Russian-born Alex Wiens.

Wiens, now 29, was jailed for life on November 11 for the racially motivated murder as well as the attempted murder of Okaz. The couple’s three-year-old son was also in the courtroom.

The situation “was particularly hard to assess since Elwy Okaz and Alex Wiens were both covered in blood and Elwy Okaz had just managed to grab the handle of the knife with his hand, making it appear as though he was the attacker,” prosecutors said in a statement, before emphasising that it was a “highly dramatic” and “unclear situation.”

“The actual attacker Wiens was holding the blade of the knife, which added to the impression that he was the one being attacked,” prosecutors said.

They added that the policeman, who was not in the Dresden courtroom when the attack began, only had seconds to act after entering the room and that he had warned several times that he was going to shoot.

“It must also be noted that the murderous attack on Marwa El-Sherbini and Elwy Okaz was only stopped by the courageous actions of the policeman and that without his intervention there might have been further attacks on Elwy Okaz and his family,” the statement said.

The killing, as well as the slow reaction of Germany’s politicians and media, sparked outrage in Sherbini’s home country and in the wider Muslim world.

Wiens and Sherbini were in court because Wiens was appealing against an earlier fine for calling the headscarved Sherbini a “terrorist”, an “Islamist” and a “whore” in a playground in August 2008.

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CRIME

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

READ ALSO: The German rules of the road that are hard to get your head around

In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

READ ALSO: The German road signs that confuse foreigners

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