Far-right gunman jailed for life over Yom Kippur Halle synagogue attack

Stephan Balliet shot and killed a female passer-by and a man at a kebab shop after failing to break into the shul during Yom Kippur service in 2019


The gunman who killed two people after targeting a synagogue in the German city of Halle on Yom Kippur last year has been sentenced to life in prison.

Far-right right extremist Stephan Balliet was jailed on Monday for what the prosecutor said was “one of the most repulsive antisemitic acts since World War II”.

Judge Ursula Mertens said the killer  was responsible for a “cowardly attack” and stressed the gravity of his crime, as he ensured there was no likely prospect of any early release from prison.

The court heard how on October 9 last year, the 28-year-old had shot a 40-year-old woman in the back after he failed to break into the shul, at which 52 people were congregated during the holiest day of the year.

He had then cornered and shot dead a 20-year-old male German in a nearby kebab shop.

Balliet wore combat gear on the day of the attack and filmed the shooting which was broadcast  for 35 minutes on the internet.  Images showed that his  home-made gun repeatedly jammed.

It emerged that the shul's cantor who was leading prayer in the synagogue had seen the gunman on a surveillance TV and had moved the congregation out of the main hall.

The bolted door of the building prevented  Balliet from gaining entry.

The extremist was charged with the attempted murder of 68 people, Holocaust denial and incitement of the people.

At one point during the five-month trial  in the city of Magdeburg, he had said “attacking the synagogue was not a mistake, they are my enemies”.

It was confirmed that while Balliet was not a member of any organised Nazi group he had been radicalised online.

Responding to the news that the Halle Synagogue shooter has received a life sentence, President of the Board of Deputies Marie van der Zyl, said:“After the murderous rampage we saw in Halle last year, this was absolutely the correct verdict. European states must confront anti-Jewish hatred with every means at their disposal. Our full solidarity with ZentralratJuden and the German Jewish community.”




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