German court hears accusation that a Palestinian helped murder a man because he thought he was Jewish

Witness claims one of the accused told the other, a Palestinian, their target was Jewish, with the second responding 'they destroyed my homeland'


A German real-estate agent was murdered, in part, because one of the alleged killers persuaded the other that the victim was Jewish, according to testimony given to the court during their trial. 

Mohammed O, a Syrian refugee, and Iyad B, a Palestinian, stand accused of killing Michael Riecher, who was found dead of strangulation last November. 

According to the testimony of a third man, as reported by a local German paper, Shwarzwaelder Bote, a Palestinian-Lebanese barber who is said to have introduced the two men to each other, Mohammed O told Iyad B that Mr Riecher was Jewish, to which the latter said “they destroyed my homeland.”

The Syrian had previously conducted business with Mr Riecher, who had opened the safe while in his presence, reportedly enabling him to see a large quantity of gold and money inside. 

According to the man who had introduced them, who was given the pseudonym of Hesham, Mohammed O had described his intention to steal the gold, and “began to dream about [owning] a Ferrari and a house in Syria.” 

Hesham said he had introduced Iyad B to Mohammed O as a possible accomplice for a theft because Iyad B had “a strong heart”. 

However, the witness claims to have withdrawn from participation after hearing that Mr Riecher had a lung disease and that he would likely die from the robbery.

The court, in the southern German town of Horb am Neckar, also heard testimony that Mr Riecher was not, in fact, Jewish. A few years ago, the real-estate developer had played a role in the purchase and restoration of what had been a synagogue prior to the Nazi era. 

The trial continues.

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