BERLIN (AP) — A Syrian man went on trial Monday accused of killing a German man and seriously injuring another in an attack last year that prosecutors said was motivated by Islamic extremist ideology.
The trial of Abdullah A.H.H., whose full name wasn’t released due to German privacy laws, began in the eastern city of Dresden, where the attack took place on Oct. 4.
Federal prosecutors allege that the defendant used kitchen knives to attack the two men in their 50s from behind because they were holding hands and he believed they were a gay couple, which he considered to be a “grave sin.” The 21-year-old was arrested almost three weeks after the crime and has been in custody since then.
The defendant is charged with murder in the killing of the 55-year-old victim and the attempted murder and serious bodily harm of the 53-year-old man.
A forensic psychiatrist testified in court that the defendant had told him after the attack that he regretted not killing both men, German news agency dpa reported.
The defendant’s lawyer acknowledged that his client had admitted to carrying out the attack and that the requirements for a murder conviction had been met, but suggested that juvenile law should be applied in the case as he was still immature, dpa reported.
The defendant had been released from prison a month before the attack after serving a three-year juvenile sentence for promoting the extremist Islamic State group and subsequently attacking a prison guard.
Prosecutors alleged that the defendant, a native of Aleppo who came to Germany as a refugee in 2015, had planned to carry out a further attack, details of which weren’t immediately known.