Story By: Kathryn Quinn, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
A juvenile court judge has stopped the trial of a Syrian refugee accused of beating a man to death in order to check the suspect’s dental records amid suspicions he is older than he claims.
Sabri H., reportedly 20 years, was due to stand trial this week on charges of GBH leading to death in Magdeburg, the capital city of the state of Saxony-Anhalt in eastern Germany.
The incident took place on 29th June 2017 in a shopping centre in the city of Wittenberg and was captured by CCTV cameras.
Picture Credit: CEN
Markus Hempel, 30, was out shopping with a female friend when they encountered Sabri H. and three of his refugee friends.
According to local media, Sabri H. showed his middle finger towards the duo, after which an argument ensued.
When the gang of four surrounded Markus and his female friend and allegedly began to touch her, Markus tried to protect himself and his friend and got in a fight with Sabri H.
Picture Credit: CEN
Prosecutors claim Sabri H. hit Markus multiple times to his face, after which the victim fell to the ground and hit his head so severely on the pavement that he died from a head injury.
Sabri H. was due to be tried in a youth court behind closed doors as his age was reported as being 17 at the time of the attack.
However, German daily ‘Bild’ now report that the court case has now been stopped before it really began after the judge from the juvenile court cast doubt over Sabri H.’s age.
The court has now ordered that the Syrian’s age be determined by his dental records so they can determine whether or not Sabri H. should face trial in a juvenile court or be tried as an adult.
The victim’s father Karsten Hempel, 54, said: “This is what we have demanded on numerous occasions, but it has always been denied.”
According to local media there have been six requests in the last 22 months to look into Sabri H.’s age, although all of them had been denied.
In the months prior to the start of the case, Sabi H. caused a shock by reportedly brushing off the incident which led to the death of Markus.
He told a reporter from local newspaper ‘Die Tageszeitung’: “It has happened. That’s life.”
When talking to local media he could not even remember the name of the victim.
The trial is scheduled to restart in October, according to local media. In the meantime, the suspect is not being held in pretrial detention.
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