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CRIME

Berlin pressures US to free convicted murderer

Berlin is pressuring US authorities to release a German national serving two life sentences on double murder charges, saying he would have been released years ago according to the German penal code.

Berlin pressures US to free convicted murderer
Photo: DPA

Human rights commissioner Markus Löning said Wednesday that he’d paid a visit to Jens Söring in Virginia in hopes of having the 44-year-old former diplomat’s son returned to his home country.

Söring is serving a double life sentence after being charged with helping his American girlfriend murder her parents in 1985 when he was 18-years-old. At the time, he admitted his participation in the crime but later retracted his confession.

He still maintains his innocence.

US authorities have refused to pardon Söring or grant him a suspended sentence, which the German embassy in Washington DC has been working to change.

“Publicly we can do very little,” human rights commissioner Löning said on Wednesday after returning from his trip to the US. “But we’re trying to do everything we can in the background.”

The question of the prisoner’s guilt or innocence plays “no role,” he said.

“Söring has been sitting in prison for almost a quarter of a century. With that he has long since served his punishment according to our interpretation of the law.”

DPA/ka

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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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