An Iraqi asylum seeker who mowed down a number of people riding motorcycles on Germany’s Autobahn last summer — injuring six people, three of them seriously — has been deemed mentally ill by authorities and therefore not capable of being held legally accountable for his crimes.
Initially, investigators assumed that the perpetrator, 30-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker Sarmad A., had been motivated by an Islamist ideology. According to Attorney General Margarete Koppers, following the attack, which took place on Autobahn A 100 last August, Sarmad A. crashed his black Opel Astra at a motorway exit after carrying out the attacks, stepped out of his vehicle, rolled up a prayer rug, and shouted “Allahu Akbar”, and declared that everyone would die, Berliner Zeitung reports.
Shortly after, police arrived at the scene and Sarmad A. was arrested and taken into custody. Upon searching his vehicle, authorities discovered an old ammunition box which contained various tools and a Koran.
Now, nearly eight months after the alleged Islamist-motivated attack on Berlin’s city’s motorway, the suspect’s trial is set to begin on later this month. The suspect, Sarmad. A., is accused of attempted murder, dangerous bodily harm, resistance to law enforcement officers, property damage, leaving from the scene of an accident, and dangerous interference in road traffic, the regional court in Berlin announced last Thursday.
According to the court, Sarmad. A decided before carrying out the act on Aug. 18, 2020, to kill random people for “delusional religious and Islamist motives”.
However, despite the long list of serious charges levelled against him, Sarmad A. is said to be either not at all guilty of the offenses, and if so — only to a limited extent — since he’s been deemed mentally ill by ‘experts’. With this in mind, the public prosecutor’s office is aiming for the Iraqi asylum seeker to be placed in a psychiatric hospital since obtaining a conviction that would lead to imprisonment inside a jail is no longer possible.
Sarmad A. was originally born in Baghdad, Iraq, and comes from a Shiite family. He is said to have studied in Iraq before fleeing his home for Europe in the summer of 2015. Prior to arriving in Germany, Sarmad traveled through Turkey, Greece, Finland, and Sweden.
Initially, upon his arrival to Germany, Sarmad was housed in a shared accommodation in Berlin. Later on, he moved to an apartment building in Reinickendorf until his arrest. In Germany, Sarmad is said to have increasingly developed into a radical Islamist.
The Iraqi asylum seeker’s trial is set to take place on April 15, 2021, and is expected to last 30 days. The case’s verdict will be announced later this year, at the end of September.
In the past few years, Germany has witnessed a number of cases which involved Middle Eastern migrants purposefully ramming into vehicles or running over pedestrians.
In October 2019, a 32-year-old Syrian migrant turned the truck he had just stolen into a deadly weapon when he decided to ram it into several other vehicles in the German city of Limburg. Seven cars and a van were smashed together as a result of the violent impact. A total of eight occupants of the motor vehicles were injured along with the suspect himself, German news portal Focus Online reported.
In 2016, a Tunisian asylum seeker, operating under instructions from ISIS, rammed a truck into a Berlin Christmas market, killing 12 people and injuring 56.