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Bavaria train attacker handed 14-year jail sentence: Germany

Berlin: The 28-year-old pulled a knife on four passengers on a high-speed train in the southern state of Bavaria last November. The trial focused on whether his attack was motivated by Islamic extremism or schizophrenia.

The man who carried out a knife attack on a German high-speed train was sentenced to 14 years in prison on Friday.

A court in Munich found that Abdalrahman A. was culpable despite claims he was mentally ill at the time. The 28-year-old was found guilty of attempted murder and dangerous bodily harm.

What happened during the attack?

On November 6, 2021, Abdalrahman A. was traveling on an Intercity Express (ICE) train from Passau to Nuremberg when he pulled a knife on four other passengers, seriously injuring three of them.

A folding knife with an 8-centimeter (3.1-inch) blade was found on the suspect. 

According to media reports at the time, more than 200 people were on the train and several stepped in to prevent the attacker from injuring other people.

Why is this case important?

At the time of the attack, investigators were doubtful of a terrorist motive for the incident and said the attacker appeared to be suffering from psychiatric problems and had called for help on the train.

The defendant was initially taken to a psychiatric unit, but two months later he was remanded in custody where he has remained until now.

During the two-month trial, the federal prosecutor’s office pushed an Islamist motive for the crime and demanded a life sentence for alleged attempted murder and dangerous bodily harm.

According to German intelligence, Abdalrahman A. visited a Salafist mosque and allegedly tried to do his part in the jihad by killing non-Muslims.

The defense, meanwhile, argued that the attack was a result of delusion caused by their client’s paranoid schizophrenia. Several witnesses, including the prison psychiatrist, stated that the defendant was schizophrenic.

The violence was not preceded by an argument, Germany’s DPA news agency reported at the time. However, the court heard from a total of seven psychiatrists and a psychiatric report found full culpability.

As a result, the chamber could rule out several mental health issues.

Abdalrahman A., a Palestinian, has lived in Germany since 2014 as a refugee, having arrived from war-torn Syria. He has been living in Passau and had recently lost his job, police said. 

Zahra Sikandar
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