German court convicts Syrian who beat man wearing Jewish cap
BERLIN (AP) — A Berlin court convicted a 19-year-old Syrian on Monday of serious bodily harm and slander for attacking a man wearing a Jewish skullcap in the German capital in April.
The 21-year-old victim, an Arab Israeli who said he wore the Jewish kippa, or yarmulke, in a show of solidarity with his Jewish friends, filmed his attacker whipping him violently with a belt while shouting “Yahudi!” — Jew in Arabic.
Berlin’s regional court sentenced the defendant, who wasn’t named due to privacy rules, to four weeks of juvenile detention, which he has already served while awaiting trial.
The attack was widely condemned and stoked a debate about anti-Semitism in Germany.
During the trial, the defendant admitted whipping the victim with a belt but said he regretted the assault and apologized to the victim.
Testifying in German and Arabic through a translator, the defendant — who came to Germany in 2015 seeking asylum — told the court he had smoked marijuana before the incident.
The defendant turned himself in two days after the assault. He was tried as a juvenile, which is possible under German law if a person is under 21 and considered immature.
Chancellor Angela Merkel personally spoke out against the attack, saying her government would respond “with full force and resolve” against anti-Semitism in Germany. The country has strict laws against incitement to hatred that are rooted in its experience of Nazism, an ideology of racial supremacy which Adolf Hitler used to justify the Holocaust.
In a separate incident, police in the western city of Dortmund appealed Monday for witnesses after a 21-year-old Jewish man was allegedly attacked and insulted by three neo-Nazis.