German court sentences terrorist who attacked Halle synagogue last year to life in prison
Stephan Balliet, the person responsible for last year's attack on a synagogue in Halle, was sentenced to life in prison Monday by a court in Germany. The verdict, which has yet to take effect, agreed with the prosecutor's suggested punishment.
During his attack, Balliet never made it inside the synagogue, but he did kill two people in the vicinity. The Central Council of Jews in Germany welcomed the verdict and called it a symbol of the fact that there is no place for antisemitism in the country.
Balliet admitted committing the crimes, but may still appeal the life sentence, which includes a protective custody order. In especially serious cases when a person poses a danger to the public, protective custody is used as a special preventive measure to make sure that if even if a convict's sentence is changed while it is being served, the convict will still never leave prison.
The verdict means that even if Balliet were to be conditionally released or pardoned in the future, he would still remain in protective detention. Such detention is not considered punishment, but protection for the public, and its conditions are milder, compared to imprisonment.
In the case of a life sentence, it is possible in Germany to achieve conditional release after 15 years behind bars. "Today is a significant day for Germany. The verdict is a clear statement that murderous hatred toward Jews is not tolerated here," said Josef Schuster, the head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.
Schuster noted that the assassin has demonstrated no regret since committing his crimes and continues to hold racist attitudes. Balliet atempted to attack the synagogue in October 2019 as believers were celebrating the biggest holiday in Judaism, Yom Kippur.
The terrorist did not enter the synagogue because its doors were too massive to breach, and therefore he fired his weapon at random passers-by before shooting a young man in a nearby fast-food shop. He injured several other people as well.
Balliet confessed that antisemitic, racist conspiracy theories led him to commit the crimes. His defense attorneys endeavored to reduce the charges, arguing that the defendant had not committed attempted murder against the more than 50 people in the synagogue because he eventually retreated from his intention to enter the building.
The court rejected that interpretation of events. During his court testimony Balliet did not deny having committed the crimes.
The defendant said he had originally wanted to attack Muslims but eventually decided to choose Jews as his target because he considers them to pose a bigger problem for "dissatisfied white men". During the trial he also attempted more than once to espouse his racist opinions and had to be repeatedly silenced.
A forensic psychiatrist said during the trial that Balliet suffers from a complex personality disorder with signs of autism and paranoia, but also emphasized that his condition does not affect his mental functioning or his ability to differentiate behavior that is illegal from behavior that is legal. The psychiatrist reasoned that, unlike patients who suffer from deceptive ideas or from delusions, the defendant had rationally planned his crime in detail and waited for the best moment at which to commit it.
- German Government Commissioner on Antisemitism: COVID-19 denial now a pretext for Holocaust revisionism
- German police officers who joined neo-Nazi groups online are being disciplined and dismissed in one state
- German Sinti and Roma oppose Berlin tunnel construction that will disturb memorial to Sinti and Romani victims of the Nazi regime
- Germany reorganizes special military unit because some of its personnel are members of the ultra-right
- Czech car manufacturer Škoda distances itself from video by German ultra-right rapper
- Germany: Trial begins of right-wing extremist charged with murder of local politician
- The Central Council of German Sinti and Roma is deeply saddened by the death of Holocaust survivor and Roma civil rights activist Raymond Gurême
- Germany: AfD press spokesperson fired after claiming to be of "Aryan" origin and espousing fascism
- Germany: Halle terrorist charged with double murder and 68 counts of attempted murder
- Germany: Extremist group in the AfD party says it is dissolving
- Germany: Xenophobic party apologizes for racist coloring book after sharp criticism
- Another victim of the German terrorist attack, a young man from Romania, is also from the Roma minority
- German Interior Minister: Hanau terrorist attack motivated by racism, neo-Nazis have attacked three times in just a few months
- Young Romani woman was a victim of German shooting spree
- German shooting spree is being investigated as a terrorist attack
- Germany: Anti-migrant xenophobic gunman kills 11 in horrifying spree, he and his mother then found dead
- Germany: Head of the state of Thuringia resigns within 24 hours after extremist party plays kingmaker role
- German shop selling beer with neo-Nazi symbolism
- Czech court hears defamation case against man who insulted a member of the Govt's Roma Council in the media
- Czech Police charge two men for publishing racist content about mass killing last year, Pirate Party and ROMEA filed reports against them
- Alena Gronzíková: Czech landlords will not rent to Roma even with good references and steady incomes
- Volunteer civil society members of Czech Govt Roma Council: ombudsman intentionally undermining the dignity of Romani people
- Czech ombudsman criticizes draft Roma Strategy, rejects idea of updating information about compensation for forced sterilizations
- Czech MP publishes collage comparing vaccinations against COVID-19 to the Holocaust and using imagery of the gate at Auschwitz
- Czech churches condemn those wearing yellow Stars of David at anti-vaxxer events, call on them to apologize
- Czech Federation of Jewish Communities: Yellow Star of David at Prague demonstration is textbook abuse and relativization of a Holocaust symbol
- Czech capital sees demonstration in support of Trump and against COVID-19 pandemic suppression measures by the same extremists who march against the Roma
- USA: Holocaust deniers, neo-Nazis, QAnon followers and racist supporters of white supremacy attacked Congress to support Trump
- USA: Extremist supporters of Trump attack Capitol building, disrupt joint session of Congress, four dead, media and world leaders call it an attack on democracy
- Czech racists hated Vodafone Christmas ad featuring non-white children, the company objects to their online comments