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Shooter of US airmen in Frankfurt gets life

The Local · 10 Feb 2012, 15:06

Published: 10 Feb 2012 14:23 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Feb 2012 15:06 GMT+01:00

Arid Uka, 22, from Kosovo, was convicted of killing two soldiers and wounding two others when he opened fire outside the airport on March 2 last year on a group of US soldiers on their way to serve in Afghanistan, said the higher regional court in Frankfurt.

Presiding judge Thomas Sagebiel told the court: "The accused has been convicted to a life sentence for two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder."

Uka, wearing green trousers, a black jumper and a brown hooded top, appeared relaxed as the verdict was handed down, even smiling occasionally.

US soldiers Nicholas Alden, 25, and Zachary Ryan Cuddeback, 21, were killed in the shooting. Two other soldiers were wounded.

Sagebiel told the court: "He would have shot at a third, but the weapon got jammed."

The verdict had already been postponed twice since the trial opened with Uka apologising to his victims and their families.

"On March 2, I killed two people and opened fire on three others. Today I can't understand myself how I could have acted this way," he said.

He said he had been influenced by "lies" and "propaganda" after seeing a video on the Internet purporting to show US soldiers in Afghanistan raping a local woman.

Defence lawyer Michaela Roth had not contested Uka's guilt but argued that extenuating circumstances should allow him to be eligible for release after 15 years in jail.

"A jihadist would never have asked for forgiveness as Arid Uka has done from the first day of his trial. On the contrary he would have been proud of himself," Roth told the court earlier.

Roth also argued that the video had probably brought back a childhood trauma to Uka, who she said was molested at the age of six.

A "saddened and outraged" US President Barack Obama said the day of the killings that Washington would "spare no effort in learning how this outrageous act took place."

Prosecutors believe Uka, who was born in ethnically divided Mitrovica in northern Kosovo but who grew up in Frankfurt, acted alone and did not belong to a terrorist network.

Story continues below…

Germany opposed the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq but has more than 5,000 troops in Afghanistan, and has never suffered an attack by Islamic extremists, but a number of suspected bomb plots have been uncovered.

The September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States were planned in part in the German port city of Hamburg by an Al-Qaida cell led by Mohammed Atta, the hijacker of the first plane to strike New York's World Trade Centre.

In March 2010 a German court jailed four Islamic militants who dreamed of "mounting a second September 11" for a thwarted plot to attack US soldiers and civilians in Germany.

AFP/The Local/mry/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

17:23 February 10, 2012 by AirForceGuy
Too bad the death penalty is not available in terrorist cases...
17:40 February 10, 2012 by raandy
Being radicalized and killing people do not necessarily go hand in hand. This person willingly killed two people and admitted he would have killed more had his weapon not jammed.

Three life sentences should have been his sentence.
18:10 February 10, 2012 by moshe rosen
Germany has done it's best to stay on the sidelines with all this Islamic death hate. There will be a day when Germany will have to take a real postion and decide where they want to be politicly.

Italy, France and Great Britian are all in discussions about removing the atomic threat from Iran. None of these countries asked Germany because they already knew they idi not want to get involved.

There will come a day when Germany will have to decide which way it want to go.
19:47 February 10, 2012 by heathen
get a rope
22:22 February 10, 2012 by KnechtRuprecht
The last I heard - confirmation would be nice - was that a life sentence was a minimum of 6 years in German prison with good behavior and all other mitigating factors in the prisoner's favor. Everyone knows that a death sentence aka capital punishment is barbaric and uncivilized.
23:09 February 10, 2012 by Runnerguy45
Germany should have sent him to the US for punishment.
23:49 February 10, 2012 by ErnestPayne
Conversely runnerguy the american soldiers that butchered innocent women and children and walked away, thanks to american justice, should have been sent to Europe to face their system of justice.
23:55 February 10, 2012 by Anth2305
@moshe rosen

"Italy, France and Great Britian are all in discussions about removing the atomic threat from Iran".

Except that as with Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, the British people were never consulted, if they were I think I have a pretty good idea what their response would be.
09:30 February 11, 2012 by Englishted
@Anth2305

Don't count your chickens , when a country storms our embassy and burns our flag we tend to slowly rise to the threat.

Iran with a bomb does cause fear in most countries ,even their friends in Russia.
09:42 February 11, 2012 by noleti
@KnechtuRuprecht

Afaik, the court recognised "besondere schwere der Schuld", so most likely there will be no early release after 15 years
09:49 February 11, 2012 by bugger
A great example for integration impossible, this Kosovarian. Does he hold a German passport? Or a German Fremdenpass? Is Kosovo a member of the EU? If he is no holder of German citizenship, he should have been extradited. A host country should not bother with their rotten foreign apples but get rid of them. As all of them do - except Germany and Britain.
12:55 February 11, 2012 by Al uk
Time to bring back hanging!
13:42 February 12, 2012 by boopsie
Life in prison is too good for him.
23:05 February 12, 2012 by Greysuede
This world is really diverse. Some are peeing on the corpses and others are shooting the soldiers. They seem to be insane in both cases.
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