Maximum Sentence for Racist Murderer Dresden Courtroom Killer Gets Life

Alex W., the man who stabbed pregnant Egyptian pharmacist Marwa al-Sherbini to death in a courtroom in Dresden in July, was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday. The judge imposed the harshest possible sentence under the German system by ruling that W. will not be eligible for parole after 15 years.

Alex W., hiding his face under a hood, mask and sunglasses, is led into court for the verdict on Wednesday.

Alex W., hiding his face under a hood, mask and sunglasses, is led into court for the verdict on Wednesday.

A court in Dresden sentenced Alex W., a German man of Russian origin, to life in prison on Wednesday for murdering Marwa al-Sherbini, a pregnant Egyptian woman, by stabbing her 16 times in a courtroom in a case that caused outrage across the Arab world.

The judge, Birgit Wiegand, ruled that the crime was so brutal that Alex W., who moved to Germany in 2003, will not be eligible for parole after 15 years. He may be in jail for between 18 and 25 years before a board reviews whether he can get parole.

The prosecution said W., 28, had murdered al-Sherbini out of racial hatred. She had been testifying against him in a court hearing in Dresden on July 1. That hearing was held after W. had appealed against a €780 ($1,170) fine for calling al-Sherbini an "Islamist", "terrorist" and "slut" when she asked him to let her son go on the swings at a playground in August 2008.

W. admitted killing al-Sherbini but had argued that his actions were not premeditated. His attorneys had sought a manslaughter conviction. The defendant hid his face under a hood and sunglasses during the trial.

Al-Sherbini's husband, a scientist, was stabbed and suffered serious injuries when he intervened to protect her during the July 1 attack. He was then shot in the leg by a police officer who had rushed into the courtroom and mistook him for the attacker. The couple's three-year-old son witnessed the incident.

Judge Wiegand said Alex W., who was unemployed, had regarded life in Germany as "multicultural shit" and believed foreigners were depriving him of work. She said he despised Muslims in particular and ignored the fact that he himself was not of German origin, she said.

W.'s sentence was the maximum under German law. However people in al-Sherbini's home city of Alexandria, Egypt, said it was not enough, the Associated Press reported. "She died, but he's still alive," said neighbor Badr Shorbagy, 57.

Prosecutor Frank Heinrich had said in his closing arguments on Monday that W. had been motivated by a hatred of Muslims. "Like a maniacal, cold-blooded killer, he started stabbing the woman and her husband, who was trying to protect her," Heinrich said.

The Egyptian ambassador to Germany, Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy, said he was satisfied with the sentence because it was the harshest possible.

cro -- with wire reports


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