BERLIN: German prosecutors said on Tuesday they would push for a life sentence against a man charged with the brutal Islamophobic murder of a pregnant Egyptian woman.
Prosecutors in the eastern city of Dresden said Alex W., a 28-year-old Russian-born German, was motivated by a pronounced hatred of non-Europeans and Muslims.
As psychiatric experts had found no evidence of diminished responsibility, prosecutors said they would seek a life sentence.
Further information on when a trial might take place would be published later in the week, they said.
On July 1, Alex W. set upon Marwa Al-Sherbini as she gave evidence against him in a court in Dresden, stabbing her 16 times in the chest and back with an 18-cm-long (seven-inch) knife in front of her young son, the prosecution said.
The death of the 31-year-old fuelled anti-German sentiment in some Muslim countries including in her home country and Iran.
Egyptians expressed outrage at the attack and an initially low-key German response, which many viewed as a sign of racism and anti-Muslim sentiment. The week after the killing, German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her condolences to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Iran also protested the slaying.
The alleged murderer also stabbed her geneticist husband Elwy Okaz, who was shot in the leg by confused police who took him for the attacker.
W. has also been charged with Okaz s attempted murder and grievous bodily harm.
Al-Sherbini had already testified once against the man in court in November 2008, after which he was fined for calling her a terrorist at a playground.
He had returned to court on July 1 to challenge the fine. Because the man was not considered a threat and had not been held in detention before the court session, there was no special security surrounding the hearing.
Many German courts, including the one where the killing took place, have no security checks at their entrance.
Alex W. is a Spaetaussiedler ( late emigrant ), the name given to eastern Europeans of German descent entitled to German citizenship who have settled in Dresden in large numbers. He was born in the Russian city of Perm and has lived in Germany since late 2003. -Agencies