BERLIN (HPD) — A court in Germany convicted a man of attempted murder and battery and sentenced him to 14 years in prison Friday for a knife attack on a train last year that injured four people. The judges found that he had an Islamic extremist motive.
The 28-year-old Palestinian who grew up in Syria — identified only as Abdalrahman A. according to German privacy rules — was convicted in the Munich state court.
The dpa news agency reported that prosecutors, who argued there was an Islamic extremist motive, were seeking life imprisonment, while lawyers argued their client was a paranoid schizophrenic who could not be held criminally responsible and were seeking his acquittal.
The judges concluded that the defendant had a “jihadist-Islamist motive” and had attempted to kill non-Muslims, according to a court statement. They were not convinced that he had mental health problems at the time that would have influenced his criminal liability and said the man’s claims about such health problems were contradictory, variable and not credible. Three experts also found no evidence of a “relevant” mental illness.
The attack took place on an ICE high-speed train traveling from Passau, on the Austrian border, to Hamburg on November 6, 2021. Authorities initially said the man attacked his victims apparently at random and was showing signs of illness. mentally, but that there were no immediate indications of a terrorist motive.
Prosecutors later said that propaganda videos from the extremist group Islamic State had been found about the suspect and that material on his Facebook account also pointed in that direction.
Police said the suspect arrived in Germany in 2014 and was granted asylum in 2016. He was living in Passau.
The train stopped in Seubersdorf, between the Bavarian cities of Regensburg and Nuremberg, after the attack and investigators said the suspect was quickly arrested without resistance.