Muslim Wire

Man goes on trial for courtroom slaying of Egyptian woman

Posted in Politics, Society by muslimwire on October 23, 2009

Berlin – No police were present at the Dresden courtroom when a pregnant Egyptian woman was stabbed to death by a racist fanatic who had earlier been fined for insulting her at a children’s playground. The same building will be turned into a fortress from October 26 when Alex W, a German national of Russian descent, goes on trial for the July 1 murder of Marwa al-Shirbini, 31. Some 200 officers have been drafted in to guard the proceedings at the eastern German city’s regional court. The building itself will be sealed off and people attending the trial will be screened by metal detectors and subject to body searches. The killing triggered protests in Shirbini’s native Alexandria, where she was dubbed the “martyr of headscarf,” and led to calls from Iran for Germany to be condemned by the United Nations. The German government was also criticized for its slow response to the attack and its racist overtones, after it took a week for Chancellor Angela Merkel to express Germany’s condolences to Egypt. The defendant, classed by police as xenophobic, attacked Shirbini during an appeal hearing against a 330-euro (495-dollar) fine he was ordered to pay for verbally abusing the woman at a city playground in August 2008. He called her a “terrorist,” an “Islamist” and a “slut” after she asked him to stop sitting on a child’s swing so her son could use it, witnesses told police. Shirbini was wearing a headscarf at the time. Shirbini, who was expecting her second child in January, was in court with her husband and 3-year-old son when Alex W lunged at her with a knife he had smuggled into the building in a rucksack. He stabbed her 18 times, shortly after she had finished giving evidence. Shirbini’s husband, Elwi Ali Okaz, was also knifed by the assailant when he rushed to save his wife. A policemen who was summoned to the scene after a judge pressed an alarm button then shot Okaz in the leg, apparently mistaking him for the attacker. Alex W, 28, was born in Perm, Russia. He emigrated with his family to Germany in 2003 on grounds of German ancestry. Police said he had rabid right-wing views, but no previous record of convictions. During the appeal, the judge ordered a verbatim record of the man’s racist remarks in the courtroom. He called Muslims “monsters” and demanded they all be expelled from Germany. Alex W, who is unemployed, has been charged with murder, attempted murder and causing aggravated bodily harm. He faces life imprisonment if convicted. Shirbini, a pharmacist, had been living in Germany since 2003. The couple had been planning to return home at the end of the year when her husband completed his doctorate in genetic engineering. It is not clear if her husband will return to Germany to give evidence at the trial, which will be held in a larger courtroom than the one in which Shirbini was stabbed. The defendant will be protected by a glass screen during the proceedings, which are expected to last until November 11. A police spokesman in Dresden said there was “an abstract danger,” but denied death threats had been made against Alex W.


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