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Frankfurt court releases terror suspect due to 'full schedule'

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Frankfurt court releases terror suspect due to 'full schedule'
The state court in Frankfurt. Photo: DPA
17:51 CET+01:00
A court in Frankfurt has released a man being investigated for his links to jihadi group Isis because officials "are dealing with other issues at the moment".

The 32-year-old Syrian was detained at Frankfurt Airport two years ago just as he was about to fly out of Germany.

In April 2015, state prosecutors charged him with “preparing a serious crime against the state” and alleged that he had intended to join the Isis terrorist group in Syria.

But now the court which was set to try him has instead released him from custody, justifying the move by saying it was unfair to hold him when they had no date in sight for his trial.

A spokesperson for the State Court in Frankfurt told Hessischer Rundfunk that the custody was no longer proportional because it wasn't clear when the trial would begin.

Or, as a spokesperson for the court put it to DPA: “the court is doing other things at the moment".

Now, instead of sitting in jail pending trial, the suspect must report to police three times a week while investigations into his alleged crime continue.

State prosecutors have reacted angrily against the decision, although they say the man has so far always reported to the authorities.

“We don't see the reasons for the suspension [of the order] as adequate,” said prosecutor Friderike Busch, adding that she had never heard of the court lifting a detention order against a suspect before.

A speaker for the court countered that, while unusual, the lifting of detention orders was nothing new.

The speaker also rejected a report from Hessischer Rundfunk that the court had let the man walk free because it was “overburdened”.

"The court is fully stretched, not overburdened - there is a difference," he argued.

The state Justice Ministry for its part absolved itself of blame for the decision by saying that four new positions had been created at the court for 2016 specifically to deal with crimes of a political nature.

But the court spokesperson told they hadn't seen any of the new employees.

This was all grist to the mill of the Social Democrats (SPD) who are the main opposition party in Hesse, where Frankfurt is the largest city, local newspaper the Frankfurter Rundschau reports.

Claiming that it showed the chaotic workings in the state government, the SPD demanded answers from the justice ministry.

"The justice ministry has to finally do something about the drastic personnel shortage," said Heike Hofmann of the SPD.

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