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Teens jailed for brutal Berlin metro attack

The Local · 21 Dec 2011, 15:17

Published: 21 Dec 2011 15:17 GMT+01:00

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The three 18-year-olds and one 15-year-old were convicted of attempted murder for attacking a 30-year-old house painter and his co-worker at the German capital’s Lichtenberg U-Bahn station in February.

The victim’s co-worker escaped with minor injuries, but the 30-year-old suffered massive brain trauma during the beating and remains severely injured.

During the trial, prosecutors argued that the accused – all of whom are from immigrant backgrounds – had been motivated by “hate of Germans” and “having fun by committing gratuitous violence against the weak.”

The teens told police that they had been provoked after the man shouted the Nazi salute “Seig Heil” at them, but police dismissed that claim after speaking to witnesses.

Authorities expressed shock when the incident took place, with Berlin’s interior weighing in with strong condemnation. They also said they were surprised no bystanders stepped in to protect the helpless victim.

The incident was one of several recent attacks at public transportation facilities that left the German public angry and authorities struggling to improve security.

Story continues below…

In a similar incident in April, a German teen was sentenced to nearly three years in prison for attacking a man at Berlin’s Friedrichstraße U-Bahn station. In that case, a witness did step in to stop the violence.

The Local/DAPD/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:53 December 21, 2011 by Al uk
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
18:23 December 21, 2011 by Scuba Steve
4-6 years for Attempted Murder and Aggravated Assault. W*T*F?!? Kinda makes "Sheriff" Arpaio sound reasonable.....
18:39 December 21, 2011 by Wobinidan
Good. There has to be a strong signal sent out to people that attacking helpless people doesn't pay off. I hope they come out of jail better people, and I also hope they experience a whole ton of regret for what they've done.
19:17 December 21, 2011 by auslanderus
They say they hated Germans, so why are they here? Don`t like it here. then leave. better yet, send them back to where they came from with a good kick in there ass's.
19:58 December 21, 2011 by mike_1983
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
20:01 December 21, 2011 by MichaelMolenaar
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
20:55 December 21, 2011 by wood artist
@scuba steve

Being from the US, my first thought when looking at typical German sentences was that they are really light. They are when compared with the usual US sentences.

However, the more I think about it, the more I wonder. The question to answer, I think, is simple. If they were sentenced to 20 years would they emerge any different?

I'm not sure, and I haven't sought any studies on the matter, but I do think one thing seems possible. A 4 year sentence MIGHT give them enough time to consider their actions (assuming they will) but it's not so long to make the future seem hopeless. Maybe...just maybe...they are released with a different attitude and still some future possible. After 20 years, I'm pretty sure they're going to have lost any possibility for "learning" from their actions, and they'll likely be a pretty hardened individual by then.

I don't know, but I almost think this makes more sense. It would be interesting to see what the re-arrest rates are. Certainly it's cheaper, so that's something.

Food for thought.

01:10 December 22, 2011 by iline
The U-Bahn posters declaim "Deine Waffe gegen Gewalt" - indicating that people use the platform intercoms to stop themselves or others being attacked on the U-Bahn. I can't guess how others feel about this, but running past a group of angry kids intent on crushing my skull to find the intercom, in the vague hope that a police car is parked at the top of the bahnhof staircase, is not an idea that occurs to me.

Switching these posters for ones that promote Zivilcourage - and, not tutting at beer drinking commuters - but encouraging Berlin-dwellers to act less like iPod-deaf selfish ants and more like responsible members of a utopian society we'd all like to build and preserve - and SHOUT AT THEM. It works, it has worked since we were cave-dwellers and apes. People need to start realising that they have a duty to help others. Mann kann nicht mehr als Ameise leben.
01:42 December 22, 2011 by heyheyhey

People who have this amount of generalizes rage at people who have done them no harm are NOT likely to benefit from a short incarceration.

This article does not tell us the extent to which the abusive young criminals were exposed to a culture of violence in their home country. Unfortunately, I suspect that a very long sentence, with deportation when the sentence is completed, offers Germans the greatest assurance that these punks will never again harm German citizens.

My American friends in the state of Minnesota USA talk about the extreme levels of violence demonstrated by Somali males who immigrate there. We all know that there has been a very brutal culture in Somalia. We should not be surprised then that this is the method for dealing with life employed by people who lived the culture of violence.
06:48 December 22, 2011 by wood artist

While I agree to a point, I'm still not convinced. There certainly are cultural issues, and we see that in things like "honor killings." There are also issues regarding the society where their values were formed...as you cite in Somalia.

However, let's assume...for the moment...that these folks harbor some sort of generalized resentment of Germans (in this case). Is it more likely they will be "reformed" by a long sentence" or is it more likely they will simply be hardened...because the "Germans" have taken away 20 years of their life and deprived them of any future?

Is 4 or 5 years long enough to allow them to change, and still see some sort of future when they get out?

Those are, unfortunately, unknown answers, and are probably different for each individual. There may be some data around that provides some "generalized answers" but again, each person is different. In any case, while I understand the desire to "lock them away and protect society" I wonder if that's what we're really accomplishing in the long term. It's just something to consider...and I'm not certain where I actually stand. But, I do think about it.

08:07 December 22, 2011 by heyheyhey
@wood artist

With this type of brutal crime, committed against a random stranger, being a crime of premeditation, not triggered by any passion in the moment, we are dealing with a criminal who differs in significant ways from many who go to prison. This type of brutality demonstrates that these punks have not yet internalized the values that would prevent you and I and most citizens from doing this type of heinous assault.

In this case the length of sentence serves only one purpose, which is to protect society for the maximum amount of time possible, under the law.

A 20 year sentence would allow these punks to AGE, which, in and of itself will decrease the likelihood that they would have the type of energy required to commit this type of crime again.

I do know persons who have had this level of aggression and I can tell you that they require interventions that most prisons do not offer. A short four year sentence will simply allow them to connect with others like themselves, in prison. They can share stories and modus operandi, and then be an even more proficient abuser upon release. Keeping them for 20 years allows the natural aging process to work its magic and slow them down.

Brutal crimes against strangers do not bode well for someone like this coming to their senses......just doesn't happen
08:50 December 22, 2011 by twisted
Well, the sentences are better than the usual slap on the wrist, but no enough in my humble opinion. One can only hope that someone in prison treats them like they treated their victim.
12:36 December 22, 2011 by storymann
Considering that this is Germany, the sentence was mildly gratifying,I do however believe these thugs should have to pay restitution to the victim, hospital cost to the state, loss of income and any disability that he has incurred upon their release.
13:27 December 22, 2011 by Larry Thrash
We have to treat all racial hate crimes the same. Hating a German because he is Caucasian is racism. Caucasians are the least racist group of people on Earth despite the propaganda we must endure.
14:50 December 22, 2011 by expatriarch
@Wobinidan - If you think this is in any way sufficient to detract from further attacks in the future, you are just as reckless and insane. They admitted to attempting to murder someone, which is final and forever, without parole or a redo. They admitted to a motivation of hatred towards Germans and a desire to attack the weak. What do you and Germany not get? Germany is the equivalent to that mother that everyone has once seen, that allows her toddler to hit and abuse her and all she does is cower and cry about it. Germany is allowing crime to terrorize its citizens, who cannot trust in the police that is never present or takes any action, or the court system that does not sufficiently protect or set punishments even remotely fitting the crime.

Give them 20 years in jail and let them out early if 5 years after they are deemed reformed. Don't just start with a slap on the wrist for trying to extinguish someone's life. It's their life, damn it. A life that has family and friends and that is thousands of times more productive and contributes to society than these criminal psychopaths ever will have the capacity to.

One good thing is that when I slaughter a whole group of punks with an illegal weapon, while defending myself from them trying to kill me, I will only get about 10 years.
19:09 December 22, 2011 by MichaelMolenaar

Your comment about the Somali immigrants acting violently in Minnesota hit home for me. I'm a teenager, of German descent, and I live in Minnesota. In my high school personally, I witnessed a Somali beating up a smaller white child after school one day in a secluded part of the school. I didn't physically intervene, but as soon as I saw it I yelled at him, and that stopped it and he walked off. During this time, the kid being attacked didn't even try and defend himself, he just took it.

The terrible part is that this Somali wasn't even part of our community. He was part of a busing program that ferries the Somalis out of Minneapolis/St. Paul (where most of them were put) and into the rural areas (which are +80% White). Somalis are also disproportionality represented in crime statistics and exhibit dependence on government welfare, which seems to make them even more violent. It's like they feel entitled to it just because they are different.

I believe that a vast majority of Minnesotans would agree with me when I say that we DONT WANT ANY MORE SOMALI IMMIGRANTS or ANY IMMIGRANTS for that matter. The federal US government has sent them to us because Minnesota is a white, prosperous, and homogeneous society so they think that we can "handle them". The truth of the matter is that they are encouraging racial conflict by attempting to blend us together with them. We were never given a chance to vote on it. It was forced down our throats. We are sick and tired of being forced to support the world's destitute masses.

And how do they repay us for our kindness? I think one can find the answer in the interaction at that U-Bahn station.
18:09 December 23, 2011 by raandy
@Wood artist at least a 20 year sentence would keep this punk out of the face of society for that many years, there is a high percentage of repeat offenders. If the sentence was 4 years ,you can do the math , and there is no rehabilitation, only incarceration.
18:10 December 23, 2011 by cobc
these kids are monsters! seems to me their parents come to this country, work hard and try to have a better life than where they are from...BUT they allow their monster kids to do as they wish. i believe the parents should also get punishments! i'm tired of these immigrant groups of bully's acting LOUD and rude and with absolutely NO manners or regard for others around them.
20:11 December 23, 2011 by McNair Kaserne
Please send them to America, where we now have provisions for concealed carry of a firearm for self defense in 49 out of 50 states. I predict a satisfactory outcome to the situation.

Or you could just deport them to the third world sewer they and/or their parents came from.
01:07 December 24, 2011 by CharlieBravo
@ wood artist

The re-offending rate for persons who spent terms in prison is around half to two thirds. The figure rises the longer they are in prison for.

A person who re-offends for life is a burden to society and the tax payer for life. Prisons are not free.

Stopping major crimes like the one depicted on public transport, needs to start at the bottom end with a zero tolerance approach to smoking, drinking and graffiti. Crime statistically occurs in greater volumes in those areas conducive to crime. Remove the anti-social feeling from public transport and the more violent crimes will happen to a lesser degree. That includes removing the beggars and pan handlers that loaf all day long in the u-bahn stations and for the rest of us not to be afraid to speak up when people start smoking or mis-behaving on the platforms.

I watched the other day as one person lit up and within five minutes there were twelve people smoking on the platform. I asked every single one to put them out. Only one person got mildly aggressive about it but a firm raised voice works wonders in Germany. It's no good sitting in our armchairs crying foul - if we want better society we have to be willing to get involved. The police are only as good as the public who help them.
03:59 December 24, 2011 by Pavelina
What possible benefit can it be to our western countries to admit somalis or pakistanis or, for that matter, any Muslims from the Dar al Islam. These people subscribe to an ideology that is as different from our world view and values as night from day.

We need to return to "immigration in the national interest", What a concept! It's time to bring it back, esp if our civilization is to survive.
12:09 December 24, 2011 by raandy
Pavelina hard to fault your reasoning, especially if you have lived in an area where large numbers of these people were relocated to. They relocated during the Clinton Adm 12,000 Somali's into Portland, Maine where the population is almost all white and all Christian and there had never been much exposure to immigration like NYC, it still remains a diaster.
08:18 December 25, 2011 by Drewsky
Some interesting comments here regarding 'light' German sentences compared to those in the USA. Anyone see the film' Public Enemy', with Johnny Depp? Dillinger had done 9 years for a petty theft and learned the fine art of bank robbery while IN PRISON. Good example of why one should ponder the USA's long sentencing laws.
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