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German White Nationalist Sentenced to Life in Prison

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MAGDEBURG, Germany — A German court sentenced a white supremacist to life in prison on Monday for murder and attempted murder after he tried to blast his way into a synagogue on the holiest day on the Jewish calendar last year.

Calling his act “despicable, cowardly and inhuman,” the presiding judge, Ursula Mertens, announced the verdict in the case of Stephan Balliet, whose attempt to kill 51 people who were celebrating Yom Kippur in the synagogue in Halle on Oct. 9, 2019, failed only because he could not breach a locked door.

Mr. Balliet, 28, stood motionless as the judge read the sentence. He had confessed to the attack, some of which he had filmed with a camera and streamed live over the internet.

In the video, he could be seen killing a 40-year-old woman who had spoken to him while he tried to storm the synagogue. After failing to achieve his initial target, he went to a nearby kebab shop, where he killed a 20-year-old German man, whom he believed to be a Muslim.

The court followed federal prosecutors’ arguments that he should receive the maximum sentence possible for carrying out what prosecutor Kai Lohse called the country’s “most despicable act of anti-Semitism since World War II.”

Mr. Balliet will not be eligible for parole, guaranteeing that he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

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