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CRIME

Failed asylum seeker sentenced to 8.5 years in prison for murder amid far-right tensions

A failed asylum seeker has been sentenced to eight years and six months in prison for stabbing his 15-year-old girlfriend to death.

Failed asylum seeker sentenced to 8.5 years in prison for murder amid far-right tensions
Tributes laid out in front of the drugstore where Mia died on December 27th 2017

The sentencing in the western German town of Landau came at a time when anti-migrant protests have erupted in the eastern city of Chemnitz over the fatal stabbing of a man, allegedly by a Syrian and an Iraqi.

The judges sentenced Abdul D., who says he is from Afghanistan, for the murder and assault of the teenager called Mia, following a juvenile justice case, the court said on Monday.

The prosecution had previously demanded a prison sentence of 10 years, while the defence hoped for seven years and six months for manslaughter, reports Focus Online.  Prosecutors believe that he acted out of jealousy after she broke up with him.

The incident happened on December 27th, 2017 in the middle of a drugstore and caused nationwide horror.

Right-wing populist groups took the case as an opportunity to repeatedly protest in Kandel against the asylum policy of the federal government.

The case also fuelled the discussion about the age determination of young refugees.

After his arrival in Germany, Abdul D. was admitted and cared for as an unaccompanied minor refugee. He said he was 15-years-old at the time of the crime; however, doubts have been raised about his age.

An expert had estimated his age as between 17 and a half and 20 years old. Nevertheless, the court hearing took place behind closed doors and under juvenile penal rules.

Abdul D. arrived in Germany in April 2016 and his request for asylum was rejected on February 2017, although he was not immediately deported.

The case is one in a string of high profile crimes allegedly committed by asylum seekers that has stoked popular anger against the new arrivals and put pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel over her liberal refugee policy.

Far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) has been mobilizing regular demonstrations over the killing in the small town with a population of just 9,000, as it sought to bolster its anti-migrant campaign.

At the peak of the protests, thousands marched in Kandel. But they appear to have since lost momentum.

On Saturday, a demonstration in the town attracted 350 people, local police said.

Residents of the small town frustrated by the far-right rallies also lined the demonstration route, carrying banners like “Stop hate and incitement” or “Kandel is colourful, not brown” – in reference to the Nazi's khaki uniforms, according to DPA.

Rhineland-Palatinate state premier Malu Dreyer accused the far-right of exploiting the teenager's death for political gains, saying it was “intolerable”.

“It is the hope of all of us that once the trial is over, peace will return to Kandel,” she said.

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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