China orders German’s execution for murders

Update: A German man has been condemned to death in China for murdering his ex-girlfriend and her partner in a frenzied attack, it was reported on Wednesday.

China orders German's execution for murders
A paramilitary guard stands inside Beijing's No.1 Detention Centre. Photo: DPA

A court in Xiamen three years ago found the 36-year-old from Bavaria guilty of the double homicide committed in the southeastern port city in 2010.

But the sentence for the crime was only handed down by an intermediate people's court on Tuesday, the man's lawyer told the dpa news agency in Beijing.

It must now be confirmed by a higher court and finally by China's Supreme Court. If enforced, this would be the first execution of a German national by the modern Chinese state.

The man, who comes from Teisendorf in northern Bavaria, used a hammer and a knife to kill his Venezuelan former girlfriend from his student days in Munich, as well as her German current partner.

The premeditated attack took place on the street in Xiamen, and was motivated by jealousy, his legal counsel said.

But it was still unclear if an appeal will be lodged by his client, who is in contact with German diplomats in the city.

"We don't know yet," lawyer Chen Liqun told dpa. "He has not come to a decision himself."

Victims lured to their deaths

The killer and his former partner studied sinology together in Munich before they broke up in 2005. The man was unable to accept their separation and began to stalk the woman, who finally informed the police, friends said.

She went to Xiamen to study in 2006, and it is speculated that the man later followed her there with the intention of killing the woman and her new partner.

He reportedly lured both victims to a luxury hotel, where witnesses said he waited for them on the street, disguised in black worker's clothing, before attacking them with the tools.

The woman is said to have fallen to her knees begging for mercy before her death.

Her murderer tried to kill himself after slaying the couple, but survived serious injuries. 

The male victim leaves behind a six-year-old child who is now being cared for by his family in Germany.

It was also not clear if the sentence would be carried out if confirmed. The German Foreign Office routinely tries to ensure that death sentences passed on German citizens are commuted to jail time.

But if the man does not appeal successfully, the execution will go ahead automatically.

As in previous appealed cases, China may commute the death sentence to lifelong imprisonment, although this would be unusual in a murder case.

The last state execution of a European was in 2009, when China executed a Pakistan-born British citizen for drug-trafficking.

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Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.