German court jails 'jihadist' for train stabbing

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German court jails 'jihadist' for train stabbing
The train attacker greets his lawyers in Munich's highest court. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

A German court sentenced a Syrian-born man on Friday to 14 years in prison for an Islamist knife attack on a train in which he injured four passengers.


The superior regional court in Munich convicted the defendant identified only as Abdalrahman A., 28, of attempted murder and grievous bodily harm for the November 2021 assault.

Defence lawyers had argued their client, a Palestinian who grew up in Syrian refugee camps, suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and should be placed in psychiatric care.

But the presiding judge, Jochen Bösl, rejected a defence of mental illness on the basis of seven expert evaluations of the accused, and identified a jihadist motive.


Bösl said the defendant had frequently listened to radio programmes "with Islamist content" and from May 2021 "at the latest" began envisioning "taking part in jihad, or armed combat".

"These views led him to this act," Bösl said of the sudden and unprovoked attack on a high-speed train between the Bavarian cities of Regensburg and Nuremberg.

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"He wanted to kill non-Muslim passengers because they were in his view non-believers and thus had no right to live."

Islamist extremists have committed several violent attacks in Germany in the past several years, the deadliest being a truck rampage at a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016 that killed 12 people.

The Tunisian attacker, a failed asylum seeker, was a supporter of the Islamic State jihadist group.

More recently, a Syrian jihadist was given a life sentence in May 2021 for stabbing a German man to death and severely wounding his partner in a homophobic attack in the eastern city of Dresden.

The number of people on the Islamist extremist spectrum in Germany fell to 28,290 in 2021 from 28,715 in 2020, according to a report from the BfV federal domestic intelligence agency.

However Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has said the "potential threat remains high" from Islamist extremism.



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