In Germany on Thursday, a teenage girl went on trial for stabbing a police officer. The assault was allegedly carried out by the youth due to an order by the Islamic State organization. However, the jihadist group has not claimed responsibility for the girl’s actions.
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Due to the fact that the teen, 16-year-old Safia S, is a minor, the judge in the case at the court within Celle, a northern city of Germany, ruled that the case would be tried behind closed doors.
Presiding Judge Frank Rosenov shared words about this decision.
“The defendant must be protected from further exposure and the accompanying stigmatisation.”
As the Associated French Press relays, if found guilty, the teen, who is a German-Moroccan national, faces 10 years in prison for attempted murder, grievous bodily harm, and support of a foreign terrorist organization.
The publication shares about the youth’s demeanor as she appeared for the trial on Thursday, stating she entered wearing fashionable eyeglasses and a beige headscarf while speaking clearly and confidently to the judge when called upon. Prosecutors believe that Safia was radicalized as a young girl and added that she had sought to gain the attention of the police while following them around the main train station in Hanover, a neighboring German city.
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“As the officers called her over for an identity check, Safia S. allegedly stabbed one of them in the neck with a vegetable knife before being overpowered by another officer,” the AFP shares.
Safia S. was already known to police prior to the stabbing which occurred on February 26. The teen had sought to travel to Syria and join IS fighters one month earlier. Her mother flew to Istanbul to bring her home. When they landed back in Germany, Safia was taken away by police for interrogation over her failed attempt to reach the IS fighters.
The authorities also seized the teen’s mobile phone, yet they did not translate the Arabic messages on the phone until after the stabbing assault. The phone contained messages that instructed Safia to carry out an “act of martyrdom.” Also on trial is a 20-year-old German-Syrian man by the name of Mohamed Hasan Kharsa. He was arrested for failing to report Safia’s plans to police, even though he was aware of her plans and knew she was plotting to attack a police officer. Kharsa had attempted to flee Germany, but he was arrested in Greece and extradited on Tuesday.
The publication shares of the teen’s history and long-time connection to the extremist group.
“Safia S. was apparently already radicalised as early as 2008. At that time, when she was just seven or eight years old, she had appeared in an online video by Pierre Vogel — a notorious Salafist preacher in Germany. But it was only in November 2015 that she pledged allegiance to the IS, investigators said. Her brother had also sought to join the jihadist group in Syria but was arrested and jailed in Turkey, according to news agency DPA.”
On the same day Safia’s trial began, a Syrian man went on trial in the city of Stuttgart, accused of being a jihadist who kidnapped a UN peacekeeper in Damascus in 2013, in what prosecutors call a “war crime.” Suliman A.-S. is believed to be a member of a branch of the Al-Nusra Front jihadist group,and the 25-year-old allegedly participated in the February 17, 2013 abduction when he was “involved in guarding the kidnapped victim between March and June 2013.” He is also “suspected of an attack during Syria’s civil war against a person who was involved in a peacekeeping mission under the United Nations Charter…” A verdict is not expected until April 2017.
Although Germany has been relatively unaffected by large-scale attacks by the jihadist groups, the economic superpower was shocked by two recent assaults by the Islamic State.
[Featured Image by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images]