Trial of Halle attackers begins

Trial of Halle attackers begins

Negotiations on the anti-Semitic attack in Halle begin in Tuesday in Magdeburg. Videos of the crime may be shown.

© Hendrik Schmidt / dpa
In this room of the Magdeburg Regional Court, the trial of the Halle assassination begins on Tuesday.

The public interest is enormous, so are the safety precautions. When the trial of the Halle assassin starts on Tuesday, almost 80 journalists and just as many officials will come to the Magdeburg district court. The accused will probably wear ankle cuffs. The trial was moved to the state capital because there was not enough space in the competent higher regional court (OLG) Naumburg. The 28-year-old Stephan Balliet is accused of, among other things, double murder, multiple attempted murder, predatory extortion, dangerous bodily harm, sedition.

Helmet camera broadcast the assassination

Balliet is in pre-trial detention and is more closely guarded after an incident in June that was considered an attempted escape. So far, 18 trial days have been scheduled, and the verdict could be reached in mid-October. The prosecution is responsible for the indictment, which is common in state protection proceedings of this importance.

More than 40 local, national and international media have been given a place in the boardroom by lottery – including the Tagesspiegel. In addition, reporters follow the process in a side room via sound transmission. The OLG announced that the indictment should be read out and Balliet interviewed.

Videos of the crime may also be shown on Tuesday. It had caused horror worldwide: on October 9, 2019, an armed man tried to to penetrate the synagogue in Paulusviertel in Halle. More than 50 believers have just celebrated Yom Kippur, the highest Jewish holiday. Balliet broadcast his attack live on the Internet with a helmet camera. The door to the synagogue remained closed.

The assassin shot a 40-year-old passer-by in front of the town hall, sped off in a rental car, stopped at a kebab shop and killed a 20-year-old painter. Balliet fought a battle with advancing officers and shot down a couple on the run to rob a car. At Zeitz he rammed a truck and was arrested.

Intelligent but socially isolated?

In his interrogations by the Federal Criminal Police Office, Balliet spoke of the fact that he wanted to kill Jews. The accused stated that they were responsible for all sorts of evils, not least the refugee crisis. In a pamphlet that he published in an internet forum before the fact, Balliet showed himself as an extreme right-wing conspiracy ideologist. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution spoke of an increasingly aggressive anti-Semitism.

Balliet is represented by Hans-Dieter Weber from Karlsruhe, where the Federal Prosecutor’s Office is located. The defense lawyer told Southwest Broadcasting that his client was intelligent but socially isolated. Balliet has lived with his mother in nearby Benndorf since his parents separated. After basic training with the German Armed Forces, Balliet began studying chemistry, which he broke off after suffering from health problems. The jobless man, who usually spent his time in his mother’s room, apparently did not notice the security authorities.

147 witnesses, three translations

147 witnesses, including 68 police officers, and 43 co-plaintiffs were named for the trial: those affected from the synagogue and the doner bar, as well as those whom Balliet had attacked while fleeing. The negotiation is translated into English, Russian and Turkish. According to the law, a subsidiary complaint can be “whoever is injured by an unlawful act”. The trial sits judge Ursula Mertens before.

The forensic report prepared by psychiatrist Norbert Leygraf speaks of a complex personality disorder, but the accused’s guilt was not affected. During the act, Balliet spoke on the live broadcast of how the self-made weapons would have disappointed him. For example, the submachine gun in front of the synagogue and at the kebab eatery often had inhibitions, which may have prevented other people from dying. If Balliet is found guilty, in addition to a life sentence, he may be ordered to take preventive detention


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