The accused was charged for a knife attack perpetrated last year in the southern city of Würzburg, in Germany, which left three people dead and injured several others.
After having considered an “Islamist” motive, the public prosecutor had asked for the placement in the psychiatric hospital of the 25-year-old suspect shortly after the act.
“What could have motivated the accused to commit the alleged offenses, hatred or religious motivation, and where or what influence the mental illness of the accused could have played here, must be clarified in the main hearing. However, it is true that individual witnesses, as also stated in our motion, have made known that the accused is said to have uttered Allahu Akbar,” said, Florian Weinzierl, spokesperson for the prosecution.
The asylum seeker, who had arrived in Germany during the 2015 migration crisis, had already been in trouble with the law and had spent time in psychiatric hospitals. He would indeed suffer from paranoid schizophrenia, which raises questions about his criminal responsibility.
As a result, the trial, which began in Veitshöchheim (south) and is scheduled to last until the end of September, is not aimed at incarceration, but at a long-term placement in a psychiatric center, according to the prosecutors.
On June 25, 2021, the attacker, barefoot and armed with a long kitchen knife, had successively attacked 10 people, some in the head and neck, in a departmental store in the Bavarian city in the late afternoon.
Three women had died on the spot, while other victims had been wounded, some seriously.
The assailant had been arrested on the public road, shortly after the acts, which some passers-by had tried to intervene to stop him.
The deadly attack had shocked Germany, which had already been hit several times by jihadist attacks.
While politicians, in the midst of a campaign for the parliamentary elections, had called for no hasty conclusions after the tragedy, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party had seen in this attack “a new proof of the failure of the migration policy” of the former Chancellor Angela Merkel (2005-2021).
Germany took in more than a million asylum seekers between 2015 and 2016, many of whom were fleeing the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.