'Veil martyr' killer trial opens as Egypt pushes for the max
The defendant is accused of stabbing to death Marwa al-Sherbini on July 1 in a Dresden courtroom, after she had sued him for calling her an "Islamist" and a "terrorist."
Berlin -- Cairo is pushing for a life sentence for a man standing trial in Dresden for the murder of a veiled Egyptian woman in a case that stoked anger against Germany in the Muslim world.
"A team of senior German lawyers have been hired by (Egypt) to defend the interests of the deceased's family... in order to secure the maximum penalty allowed by German law," a foreign ministry statement said.
The defendant, for legal reasons named only as Alex W, is accused of stabbing to death Marwa al-Sherbini on July 1 in a Dresden courtroom, after she had sued him for calling her an "Islamist" and a "terrorist."
The 28-year-old man, who was born in Russia, plunged an 18-cm (seven-inch) kitchen knife into Sherbini, 31, three months pregnant at the time with her second child, at least 16 times. She bled to death at the scene.
He is also charged with attempting to murder her husband, Elwy Okaz, in the same frenzied attack. All this happened in front of their young son, aged three and a half at the time.
Egypt said it was following the case closely and was "confident in the German justice's impartiality" in the trial, beginning on Monday.
The fact that such an incident could happen, and the slow reaction by Germany's media and its politicians left the country open to charges of Islamophobia in Egypt and the wider Muslim world.
With no security in the courtroom, it took several minutes for a police officer to arrive, who then proceeded to shoot Okaz in the leg, believing him to be the attacker. He survived.
Thousands took to the streets when the funeral of Sherbini, dubbed the "veil martyr," took place in her hometown Alexandria.