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Maximum sentence - IS supporter sentenced after two murder attacks in Duisburg

Eight months after the murderous knife attacks in Duisburg, a self-confessed IS supporter has been sentenced to the highest sentence the German justice system can impose. The 27-year-old says he is hoping for paradise.

Maan D. in Duisburg district
Maan D. in Duisburg district

"More is not possible" - Maximum sentence - IS supporter sentenced after two murder attacks in Duisburg

For the last time, he enters the courtroom in Düsseldorf with the salute of the IS fighters, the raised index finger. A few moments later, Maan D. receives the maximum sentence for his murderous knife attacks in Duisburg in April. On Tuesday, the Higher Regional Court sentenced the radical Islamist to life imprisonment for murder and four counts of attempted murder.

The court also established the particular gravity of his guilt, which practically rules out his release after a minimum term of 15 years. It also imposes preventive detention.

"Terrorist mindset" of the Duisburg murderer

"The accused has explained his terrorist convictions with an openness that is unusual for the senate," said presiding judge Jan van Lessen. "He believes that he has recognized the true religion in the militant ideology of jihadism."

Maan D. had only become radicalized in Germany and exclusively via the internet. He mainly visited the websites of the terrorist organization Islamic State. This shows the danger posed by ideologically blinded individual perpetrators like him.

In April, he was so radicalized that he took action, the judge said. "He assumed that sooner or later he would be shot by police officers and die as a martyr."

On April 9, 35-year-old Irfan D., whom he killed on the street at night with 28 stab wounds, fell victim to the intention to kill randomly selected people. The victim's DNA was later discovered on the defendant's sports shoes.

Four seriously injured in Duisburg gym

He then entered a gym in Duisburg on April 18 "in order to kill as many men as possible due to his radical Islamist beliefs". He pretended to want to do a trial training session. The victims in the shower and changing area were completely surprised by his attacks. He suddenly stood in front of them and stabbed them. All four surviving victims are still suffering from the attacks today, the court stated.

Acquaintances had finally recognized and identified the Syrian on video recordings. He had confessed to his crimes and justified them with politically motivated revenge for alleged crimes against Muslims.

Mann D. was fully culpable. His jihadist ideas pointed to a paranoid delusion. According to the psychiatric expert, however, this could be explained by the defendant's religious beliefs.

A suspended sentence after 15 years would be inappropriate even with a favorable prognosis. He had also revealed a propensity to commit serious crimes and thus fulfilled the requirements for preventive detention. He had expressed his intention to commit further crimes, the judge said.

"I hope he doesn't get out again. We suffer every day," said the father of the murdered Irfan D. after the verdict was announced. "I almost had a heart attack, as cold as ice as he was in front of me in the courtroom, this beast."

"More is not possible"

"Legally, this is the highest that could be pronounced", said a representative of the joint plaintiff. "That's why we're satisfied. This could help us come to terms with what happened. Nothing more is possible."

The Syrian showed no remorse, no compassion and had announced further crimes, a representative of the federal prosecutor's office had said. He had followed the Islamic State terrorist group's slogan of turning the entire world into a theater of war.

"I wanted to kill as many people as possible. I wanted to commit even more acts until I was killed so that I would die a martyr," he confessed on the second day of the trial.

On Monday, he took the floor again: "They can judge what they want and how they want," he said. "We hope that God will bring us to paradise." He showed no reaction to the sentencing on Tuesday.

The accused had come to Germany via the Balkan route in 2015 to avoid military service and had applied for asylum in 2016. He was given an apartment in Duisburg, where he lived mainly on social benefits.

His parents were teachers in Syria. The German course he was offered was too strenuous for him and he dropped out. He testified that he had no interest in permanent work.

After the first massacre in Duisburg on April 9, he had spread a publication by the terrorist group "Islamic State" on his Facebook account: "Islamic State is here to stay. Its soldiers are expanding the battlefronts day by day until the whole world becomes a single jihad field," it says.

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