German convicted of Muslim murder


A man who stabbed a pregnant Egyptian woman to death in a German courtroom in front of her husband and three-year-old son has been sentenced to the maximum penalty of life in jail.


Alex Wiens, 28, stabbed Marwa el-Sherbini, who was wearing a hijab, at least 16 times on July 1, in the same courthouse in the eastern city of Dresden where the trial took place.

The case of Wiens, who has admitted holding anti-Islamic and xenophobic views, shocked Germany and incensed the Muslim world, sparking protests from Egypt to Iran.

Prosecutors said the attack was motivated by "a pronounced hatred of non-Europeans and Muslims".

Husband shot

Elwy Ali Okaz, el-Sherbini's husband, who was stabbed as he tried to protect his wife during the attack, was then shot in the leg by police who apparently took him for the attacker.

Egyptian media quickly dubbed el-Sherbini a martyr and there were huge protests against the murder in several Muslim countries.

El-Sherbini and the defendant met in August 2008, when she asked him to clear a playground swing where he sat smoking a cigarette so Mustafa, her son, could use it.

He refused, calling el-Sherbini an "Islamist", a "terrorist" and a "whore". She pressed charges for defamation and he was fined $1,170.

An appeal against the conviction brought them together again in July.

The defendant allegedly plunged an 18cm kitchen knife into the chest, back and arm of el-Sherbini, 31, three months pregnant at the time with her second child.

Wiens, who arrived in Germany from Perm in the Urals in 2003, reportedly struggled with bouts of depression.

Germany has the second-largest Muslim population in western Europe after France and some groups criticised the German government for taking several days to condemn the murder.

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