Germany sentences man behind assault on Turks

More than a year after a series of attacks against the Turkish community in Germany, a court on Friday passed a verdict against the sole culprit of the attacks, a defendant identified as Muharrem D. The suspect was charged with being a supporter of the Daesh terrorist group and was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison. The court then transferred him to a psychiatric ward for a series of arson attacks.

The defendant, identified as a German, had admitted to having committed the attacks on Turkish companies and a mosque in the Bavarian town of Waldkraiburg in April 2020. The Munich Higher Regional Court found the 27-year-old guilty of heavy arson, 31 cases of attempted murder and the planning of further attacks with a weapon and explosives.

The court also found that Muharrem D. had schizophrenia and ordered that he be admitted to a mental hospital before serving his sentence.

“Without the schizophrenia, the attacks of the defendants would have been unthinkable,” said judge Jochen Bösl. But even they would not have come about without the rapid radicalization of the defendant, he added.

The most serious attack was a fire that Muharrem D. started in a Turkish supermarket during the night, risking their lives in apartments above the store, who luckily were saved by warnings from their neighbors. It also targeted a hair salon, kebab shop, pizzeria, and a local mosque. No lives were lost.

The attacks in Waldkraiburg shook the Turkish community at the time. Muharrem D. was arrested in May last year. He admitted during his trial that he planned to attack other mosques and the Turkish consulate in Munich.

According to the judge, the defendant saw himself “as a (Daesh) fighter” and developed an extreme “hatred of the Turks”.

People with connections to the terrorist group have carried out several violent attacks in Germany in recent years, the worst of which was a battering ram at a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016, in which 12 people were killed.

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