Dresden: Commemoration for Young Egyptian Murder Victim

01.07.2011
Several politicians and local residents participated in a commemoration service for Marwa El-Sherbini, a 32-year-old Egyptian woman who was killed in a court in Dresden two years ago. El-Sherbini, who was a witness in a criminal case, was stabbed by the defendant, against whom she had testified, during an appeal hearing. During the commemoration service, the Central Council of Muslims in Germany described the murder as the “tip of the iceberg” and warned not to under-estimate Islamophobic tendencies in Germany.

FBI: Saudi student bought materials for bomb, considered Bush home as target

A 20-year-old Saudi student who was arrested in Lubbock, Tex., late Wednesday was close to constructing a bomb and had researched possible targets, including the Dallas home of former president George W. Bush and the residences of three Americans who served at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, authorities said.

The defendant came to the United States as a student in September 2008, but his plan all along was to kill Americans, according to journal entries cited in an FBI affidavit. As a Saudi who entered the United States legally on a student visa, he evoked memories of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers, 15 of whom were Saudis.

The Saudi student was arrested after he attempted to purchase over the Internet the chemical phenol, a key ingredient in the explosive trinitrophenol, or TNP, according to an FBI chemist cited in the affidavit.

Hasan’s mental state a central interest for attorneys in case

Defense attorneys are compiling evidence to claim insanity for Major Hasan. It must be collected before a psychiatric evaluation is completed.

The Army has created a sanity board to evaluate whether Hasan can mentally stand trial.

Legal experts say it could buy him out of the death penalty, but it wouldn’t hand attorneys a win over the case.

Legal standards for an insanity defense say a defendant cannot be held responsible for their actions if their mental state prevented them from seeing right from wrong. But experts agree it is always a hard sell.

Guantanamo terrorism suspect seeks dropped charges

Ahmed Khalfan, a terrorism suspect captured in Pakistan in 2004 and held in secret CIA prisons in addition to Guantanamo, is going to trial in Manhattan and is requesting all charges be dropped. His lawyers claim that his constitutional right to a speedy trial was violated.

“This motion asks one primary question. Can national security trump an indicted defendant’s constitutional right to a speedy trial? We resepctfully submit that the answer is emphatically and without qualification. ‘No.’,” says his lawyers.

Trial against xenophobic courtroom murderer of Marwa al-Sherbini to start Monday

Under tight security, a man stands trial in Dresden on Monday for the murder of a pregnant Egyptian woman that stoked anger against Germany and its media in her home country and the wider Muslim world. The defendant, for legal reasons named only as Alex W, is accused of stabbing to death Marwa al-Sherbini on July 1 in a courtroom.

Alex W, classed by police as xenophobic, attacked Sherbini during an appeal hearing against a fine he was ordered to pay for verbally abusing the woman at a city playground in August 2008. Sherbini, who was pregnant with her second child, was in court with her husband and 3-year-old son when the defendant lunged at her with a knife he had smuggled into the building.

The German and Egyptian governments are to keep in touch during the trial of Alex W, a German national charged with the July 1 murder of Egyptian Marwa al-Sherbini, 31, a senior aide to Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday. Maria Boehmer, Germany’s commissioner for minority affairs, made the announcement after a telephone conversation with the Egyptian ambassador to Germany, Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy, ahead of the court case due to start Monday.

Man charged over German court killing

Prosecutors on Tuesday filed murder charges against a man who fatally stabbed a pregnant Egyptian woman in a German court — a killing that caused outrage in her native country and beyond. The 28-year-old Russian-born German, identified only as Alex W., acted out of “hatred for non-Europeans and Muslims” in the July 1 killing, prosecutors in the eastern city of Dresden said in a statement.

Marwa al-Sherbini, a 31-year-old pharmacist, was stabbed at least 16 times in a Dresden courtroom where she was to testify against the suspect. She had filed a complaint against him in 2008 accusing him of insulting her with racial slurs. Her husband was stabbed and suffered serious injuries when he intervened to protect her. The couple’s 3-year-old son was in the courtroom and witnessed the attack.

In addition to murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, prosecutors charged the assailant with attempted murder and bodily harm for his attack on el-Sherbini’s husband, Elwy Okaz.

The charges were filed with the state court in Dresden, which will now allow the defendant to respond, and then will decide whether and when a trial should start. Prosecutors said they did not expect further information for
“a few weeks.” A psychiatric expert has found no evidence that the man is unfit to stand trial, they added. Egyptians expressed outrage at the attack and an initially low-key German response, which many viewed as a sign of racism and anti-Muslim sentiment. The week after the killing, German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her condolences to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Iran also protested the slaying. Al-Sherbini had already testified once against the man in court in November 2008, after which he was fined for calling her a “terrorist” at a playground.

He had returned to court on July 1 to challenge the fine. Because the man was not considered a threat and had not been held in detention before the court session, there was no special security surrounding the hearing. Many
German courts, including the one where the killing took place, have no security checks at their entrance. Prosecutors said the defendant used a kitchen knife with a 7-inch (18-centimeter) blade that he had brought into
the courtroom in a backpack. Lars Rischke reports.

Toronto Man Found Guilty in Canada’s Landmark Case Under Anti-Terrorism Law

A Toronto man has been found guilty of taking part in the activities of a terrorist group known as the “Toronto 18”. The man, the first case for Canada’s antiterrorism laws, was charged in 2006 and cannot be named because he was a juvenile at that time. Arrested after a series of police raids in June 2006, the police and prosecutors claim that the suspects had planned to bomb government buildings and assassinate Prime Minister Harper.

Referring to the young man as an “eager acolyte,” Justice John Sproat of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice said in his reading of his 94-page judgment, “I am satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that a terrorist group existed,” adding that the group’s actions “were motivated by an interpretation of Islam which required an attack upon the near enemy, including the Canadian military and Parliament.” The key informant to the police, Mubain Shaikh, said outside the courthouse that he did not agree with the ruling because he did not believe the defendant was aware of the group’s violent plans.

Charges against seven of the 18 suspects have been dropped. Prosecutors and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police declined comment as the pending case of the remaining suspects accused are part of the same group. The young man faces up to 10 years in prison, but his lawyers suggest a stiff sentence is unlikely. Some critics have called into question civil liberties for those charged under this new antiterrorism legislation.

See full-text articles:

The Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail

International Herald Tribune

Overview of the case and the defendant available here.

The National Post

The Toronto Star

Terror lawyer bribe probe dropped

Police have dropped a bribery probe into one of the leading UK lawyers who represents terrorism suspects. Mudassar Arani was accused of sending cash to a defendant whom she did not represent in the 21 July London trial. The solicitor, who had represented three of the failed bombers, now jailed, denied pressuring another defendant to change his story. In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said there was insufficient evidence to continue investigating the claim. The force said it had been asked in August 2007 to look into allegations made during the trial of the six men accused of organising and perpetrating the botched London suicide bombings of 21 July 2005. “The Specialist Crime Directorate has scoped the allegations and reviewed the material that came out of the trial,” said the statement. “As a result the Metropolitan Police Service has decided that there is insufficient evidence to launch a criminal investigation and therefore will be taking no further action in connection with this matter.”

Full-text article continues here. (Some news sites may require registration)

Suspected 9/11 Terrorist Challenges Canadian Detention

A suspected Syrian terrorist who has spent seven years in custody in Canada is claiming that his indefinite detention without charge or trial amounts to cruelty. Hassan Almrei has argued in Canadian Federal court that this lengthy incarceration violates his constitutional rights. Almrei has arrested after September 11, 2001 and is one of five Muslim foreigners held under a national security certificate, which allows the Canadian government to detain suspects indefinitely, with secret evidence, as a threat to public safety.

Full-text article available here. (Some news sites may require registration)