Chemnitz: Trial of Alleged Killer Migrant Begins

DRESDEN, GERMANY - MARCH 18: (EDITORS NOTE: Part of this image has been pixellated to obscure the identity of the defendant) Alaa S. (L) sits with his lawyers Ricarda Lang and Frank Wilhelm Drücke as he arrives in court for the first day of his trial for the possible murder …
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The trial of a 23-year-old asylum seeker who allegedly stabbed a local Chemnitz man to death, the incident provoking protests and riots, is underway in Dresden.

The defendant’s lawyers have called for a termination in the proceedings claiming that there is not sufficient evidence against 23-year-old Alaa S. who is accused of killing 35-year-old Daniel Hillig in August, Die Welt reports.

Along with claiming there was no clear motive and other “glaring inconsistencies,” lawyer Ricarda Lang questioned the judges as to whether or not they were supporters of the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) or the anti-Islamisation PEGIDA movement.

“The judges’ attitude to the refugee issue is crucial to a fair trial,” Lang said, questioning the impartiality of the court.

Lang also brought up possible political influence on the trial, citing a statement from the Social Democrat Mayor of Chemnitz Barbara Ludwig who said she hoped the migrant would be convicted saying, “I hope even more for the victim’s family that there is a conviction for relatives to find peace.”

The defence had also attempted, unsuccessfully, to have the trial moved outside of Saxony, Brandenburg, or Thuringia due to the support for the AfD in the regions and that all three have elections this year.

The indictment was also read out against the asylum seeker which accused him of killing Daniel Hillig, but on a charge of manslaughter, rather than murder.

The death of Daniel Hillig last year sparked riots in Chemnitz after members of the local football hooligan community took to the streets, organising a protest of around 1,000 people that turned into a riot.

Several days later, the AfD, along with PEGIDA and other populist groups, held a “mourning march” for Hillig and marchers held placards with pictures and names of others who had been killed by asylum seekers, including victims of the 2016 Berlin Christmas Market terror attack and student Maria Ladenburger.

Several politicians condemned Hillig’s killing, but the comments of then-intelligence chief Hans-Georg Maassen caused controversy after he stated that he was sceptical that right-wing extremists were chasing down foreigners in retaliation as the media had suggested.

Maassen was later relieved of his duties as head of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) after another controversial comment in which he denounced that “radical left forces” within the coalition government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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