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CRIME

Berlin U-Bahn killer had history of violence

A man who shoved a 20-year-old woman to her death under a Berlin U-Bahn train on Tuesday evening had a history of violence and drug abuse in Hamburg, media reports revealed on Thursday.

Berlin U-Bahn killer had history of violence
The U-Bahn platform at Ernst-Reuter-Platz in western Berlin's wealthy Charlottenburg district. Photo: DPA

Twenty-eight-year-old Hamin E., a homeless man from Hamburg, had only arrived in Berlin two hours before the fatal event, newspaper BZ reported on Wednesday.

Passengers on the platform grabbed Hamin, an Iranian national born in Germany who has lived his whole life in the northern port city, after he approached the young woman from behind and suddenly shoved her onto the tracks as a train arrived.

The driver was unable to brake in time, but the other people held the perpetrator until police arrived on the scene.

Hamin is well known to authorities in Hamburg, having served two years and nine months in jail for serious bodily harm and robbery after stabbing another man in 2002 when he was aged only 14. He also has a history of drug abuse.

Berlin prosecutors' spokesman Martin Steltner confirmed to The Local that Hamin had been transferred to a psychiatric clinic on Wednesday evening, saying that “he definitely appears to have reduced responsibility” because of mental health problems.

Swedish connection

Swedish media jumped on the story after it emerged that the young victim had links to the Nordic nation.

A spokesperson for the Swedish Embassy in Berlin told The Local on Thursday that she had been living in Berlin and had both Swedish and German citizenship.

The Swedish Church (Svenska Kyrkan) told newspaper Aftonbladet that it would open its doors to any Swedes living in Germany who were concerned about the woman, who has not been publicly named.

“We have laid out our emergency number on Facebook and we are open all day and evening,” said its rector Lena Brolin.

She said that the church wanted to make sure that Berlin's Swedish population had access to information and support.

“Especially in a crisis, it is important for many to talk about what happened in their own language.”

Maddy Savage contributed reporting

GERMANY AND ISRAEL

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.

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