Murderer confesses in German 'veil martyr' trial

5th November 2009, Comments 0 comments

The man claimed that he was not driven to murder by racist motives.

Dresden -- A Russian-born German man admitted in court Wednesday to killing a pregnant Egyptian woman in a frenzied knife attack but denied he was driven by racism.

A spokesman for the regional court in the eastern German city of Dresden said Alex Wiens, 28, had one of his lawyers read out a statement before the judges in which he confessed to the murder of Marwa al-Sherbini on July 1.

"It is true that I am hostile to foreigners but that was not the motive" for fatally stabbing the headscarved Sherbini with an 18-centimetre (seven-inch) kitchen knife in another room of the same courthouse, the statement said.

Arab media quickly dubbed Sherbini "the veil martyr" and the case triggered anti-German protests in Egypt and in the wider Muslim world. The trial opened on October 26 under tight security.

Sherbini, three-months pregnant with her second child, had just testified against Wiens in a defamation case arising from a dispute on a playground near where they both lived in which he called her a "terrorist" and an "Islamist.”

As she attempted to leave, Wiens plunged the knife he had smuggled into the courtroom more than 16 times into her chest, arm and back.

When her husband tried to help, he too was stabbed several times, then shot by a policeman who apparently mistook him for the attacker.

Sherbini, 31, died of her wounds while still in the courtroom as her son Mustafa, aged three and a half, looked on. Her husband survived severely wounded and testified on the opening day of the trial.

Wiens said in the statement read out Wednesday that the stress of the defamation trial and fear of a stiff sentence that had led him to lash out.

Until now, Wiens had been uncooperative with the judges. He refused to remove his sunglasses in court, banged his head on a table and stamped his feet during the proceedings, and resisted attempts by guards to restrain him.

A verdict is expected November 11.


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