A Syrian refugee who is suspected of plotting to detonate a suicide vest at a Berlin airport, and one of Germany’s highest-profile prisoners, reportedly strangled himself in his jail cell in the eastern city of Leipzig, Germany, on Wednesday.
Twenty-two-year-old Jaber Albakr was discovered dead on Wednesday night, the prison’s warden, Rolf Jacob, told reporters, when a night trainee guard checked his cell. Albakr, who had been arrested on Monday, succeeded in hanging himself by tying his T-shirt to the bars of his cell.
Syrian terror suspect found dead in jail cell in Germany https://t.co/IwIHwJw78U
— The Independent (@Independent) October 12, 2016
The Saxony state justice minister, Sebastien Gemkov, relayed how everything was done to prevent something like this from occurring, as the Washington Post shares.
“This should not have happened. We did everything possible to prevent it,” he said
The suicide sparked anger and shock by many politicians. A member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, Wolfgang Bosbach, spoke about his surprise at the news, and also questioned how something like this could have happened.
“In the face of the gravity of the alleged offense. . . and the considerable threat our country faces, this is a tragedy. How could this even happen, if Albakr was monitored because of an acute suicide risk?”
Aim was taken at authorities and their ability to make the nation secure after such a threat that was posed by the deceased terrorist, if they weren’t even able to keep a terrorist alive. A group of Social Democratic lawmakers tweeted “A total loss of control by authorities.”
The officials of the prison in Leipzig stepped to their own defense and stated that they did everything they could to prevent Albakr from bringing harm to himself or to others. They shared how officers initially inspected the cell of the prisoner every 15 minutes, but after he spoke with a psychologist, they extended that window to every 30 minutes. The suicide is reported to have taken place while Albakr was alone for a short 15-minute time period, between the hours of 7:30 and 7:45 p.m.
The lawyer of the prisoner, Alexander Hiibner, placed blame on officials for not adequately monitoring his client who had been enduring a hunger strike since he was arrested and also exhibited behavior that was destructive when he destroyed a light fixture and an electrical outlet within his cell. Hiibner spoke with the Post about the outcome.
“There was the option to monitor him continuously. With him not eating and tearing out the socket, there would have been enough reason for this.. . . To say that nobody made any mistakes. . . misses the point.. . . Everyone kept saying what an important witness he was. If for no other reason, authorities should have made sure because of that, that nothing happens to him.”
The warden did corroborate the account of destructiveness displayed by Albakr, but also said that they viewed it simply as vandalism following the prisoner’s time with the psychologist and the report submitted did not indicate there was any need to move Albakr to a special cell that was suicide-proof. Jacob also acknowledged that the psychologist did not have any prior experience with terror suspects.
The German Interior Minister, Thomas de Maiziere, urged for the circumstances of the suicide to be dealt with “fully and quickly” and stated that the death of Albakr is a “setback” for investigations of terrorism.
Nothing to see here, keep those refugees coming. https://t.co/cdyJpMzySN
— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) October 11, 2016
The Post makes note of an additional series of mistakes and “blunders” that occurred during the attempt to bring Albakr into custody in the first place.
“The incident was not the only blunder by German law enforcement authorities in this case. After Albakr’s arrest, Bild published a list of ‘five mishaps’ that had occurred during the hunt for the suspect. Police observation of his house had been so obvious, for example, that even the neighbors noticed it and Albakr managed to escape. He traveled about 60 miles before being captured and handed over to police by a group of fellow Syrians two days after a massive manhunt was launched.”
[Featured Image by Carsten Koall/Getty Images]