German Court Hands Life Sentence to Extremist Over Synagogue Attack

A German court has handed a life sentence to a convicted right-wing extremist for an attack on a synagogue last year in the city of Halle.
 
On October 9, 2019, Stephan Balliet, 28, killed two people after he failed to enter the synagogue where worshippers were celebrating Yom Kippur, Judaism’s holiest day.
 
A five-judge panel at Magdeburg, the capital of Saxony Anhalt state, found Balliet “seriously culpable,” for the crime, which means he will not be eligible for early release after 15 years, which is considered for those in Germany serving life sentences.
 
Prosecutor Kai Lohse told the court that “the attack on the synagogue in Halle was one of the most repulsive anti-Semitic acts since World War II,” while the presiding Judge Ursula Mertens, who read the verdict, described Balliet’s act as a “cowardly attack.”  
 
During the trial that began in July, Balliet repeatedly said, “Attacking the synagogue was not a mistake; they are my enemies,” and that he wanted to kill all the 51 people inside but was unable to open the building’s heavy doors.
 
Balliet shot and killed a 40-year-old woman on the street and apologized to the court, saying he did not want “to kill whites.” He also killed a 20-year-old man at a nearby kebab shop and wounded several others.
 

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