Syrian refugee gets life for fatal attack in Dresden

A 21-year-old Syrian refugee was handed a life sentence by a German court on Friday for a fatal knife attack on two tourists on a Dresden street in October last year motivated by Islamist extremism.

A 55-year-old man died, while his partner survived. Both were visiting Dresden from the state of North Rhine Westphalia when they were attacked from behind.

The prosecution called for the highest sentence possible on the grounds there were no mitigating circumstances. The court followed this and ruled that the convicted assailant, named as Abdullah A, should serve a full 15 years before being eligible for release.

Defence lawyers had accepted their client’s guilt but pleaded for him to be sentenced under youth court provisions as a result of his immaturity at the time of the murder, when he was 20.

After entering Germany as a minor in 2015, Abdullah A received a sentence from a youth court in 2018 for disseminating propaganda for Islamic State. While in prison he attacked prison officers, receiving an additional sentence.

He was released under strict conditions at the end of September last year, and went on to attack the couple on October 4 just five days later.

He managed to escape following the attack, but was tracked down on the basis of DNA evidence almost three weeks later. When arrested, he was carrying a large knife.

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