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Syrian convicted over fatal attack on gay couple in Germany

BERLIN (AP) — A Syrian man was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison Friday for stabbing a gay couple in the German city of Dresden, killing one man and seriously wounding his partner in an attack last year that prosecutors said was motivated by Islamic extremist beliefs.

The state court in Dresden convicted the 21-year-old, who has been identified only as Abdullah A.H.H. in line with German privacy rules, of murder, attempted murder and bodily harm, news agency dpa reported. Judges ruled that he bears particularly severe guilt, which effectively means he won’t be released after 15 years as is common in Germany.

The attack took place on Oct. 4 as the two men in their 50s were visiting Dresden.

The court found that the defendant attacked the couple from behind because he believed homosexuality to be a “grave sin.”

The presiding judge, Hans Schlueter-Staats, said the defendant had confessed not out of remorse but to reveal his motives, and the court said it considers him still dangerous.

“It was a crime committed out of religious delusion,” Schlueter-Staats said. The judge said the two men’s injuries showed “with what force and absolute intention to kill he stabbed them,” and one of them survived only by luck.

The defendant, a native of Aleppo who came to Germany as a refugee in 2015, had been released from prison a month before the attack after serving a three-year juvenile sentence for promoting the extremist Islamic State group and subsequently attacking a prison guard.

He was arrested almost three weeks after stabbing the couple in Dresden.

Maximilian Klefens, a lawyer for the surviving victim, said the sentence was “a just punishment.”

“My client can now find peace,” he said.

The defendant listened to the verdict without showing any obvious emotion.

His lawyer, Peter Hollstein, said it was not yet clear whether he would appeal.

“I can’t say whether he will accept it,” he said.

The defense had argued for him to be tried under juvenile law.

The Associated Press