CAIRO: The trial of the murderer of Marwa El-Sherbini, the veiled Muslim victim of an Islamophobic crime in Germany, begins in Dresden today amid news that the prosecution will push for a life sentence.
The brutal murder of El-Sherbini has been widely discussed; her murderer spurned by global media, by protesting men and women all over the world, by outraged governments and their leaders, and by angered critics and writers.
The identity of here murderer, 28-year-old German of Russian descent was only recently made public as Alex W. Veinz.
On an honorary plaque, signed by the Saxons state judiciary, outside the Dresden courtroom where the pregnant El-Sherbini was knifed to death are these words: “Marwa El-Sherbini, born in Alexandria, was stabbed to death in Dresden, July 2009. We honor our Egyptian citizen Marwa, victimized by Islamophobia, she took a dignified and courageous stand. While testifying in court, she was stabbed to death by the defendant. We therefore bow in respect for Marwa, victim to this heinous crime, and share our most sincere sympathies with her family.
According to Nadim Elias, head of the supreme council of Islam in Germany, this memorial plaque, approved by the state of Dresden, is the ultimate sign of official solidarity with El-Sherbini.
The deceased’s lawyer Khaled Abu Bakr told Daily News Egypt, “The German prosecution is charging the alleged murderer clearly on two accounts: the premeditated murder of Marwa, and attempted murder of the deceased’s husband, Elwi Ali Okaz.
According to a source that preferred to remain anonymous, Okaz, who was repeatedly stabbed during the attack, is now well and undergoing physiotherapy in Germany.
A 2.5-meter tall, bullet-proof, glass wall was erected inside the courtroom at a cost of ?50,000, according to the Saxon state TV website citing information released by the Dresden court regarding security measures during the much-anticipated trial.
An official spokesman for the Dresden court said that the courtroom where the trial will take place will hold only 44 journalists, hand-picked from official media institutions in Egypt, Germany, Russia and global news agencies.
Abu Bakr anticipates the trial will be complex: “No one can predict the exact proceedings of the trial, nor the outcome of the case.
A German newspaper recently published speculations regarding the mental health of El-Sherbini’s murderer, and whether his mental well-being influenced the crime he admittedly committed.
But an official statement by Dresden’s Attorney General Christian Avenarius was published in the popular German “Bild , clarifying that a full medical check-up has proven that the accused is sane and suffers no psychological or neurological disorders.
Tarek El-Sherbini, the victim’s brother, reportedly sent implored the Egyptian Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni, and the Cairo Opera House Director Abdel Moneim Kamel, to cancel two recitals by the Dresden Orchestra scheduled to take place in Alexandria and Cairo on Oct. 31 and Nov. 2, respectively just a few days into the trial of his sister’s murder.
El-Sherbini told the Al-Shorouq newspaper that he asked to call off of the concerts because he did not approve of Egypt hosting Dresden’s mayor, saying that it is insensitive to the distraught family’s tragedy.
The trial is expected to end on Nov. 11, after four consecutive weekly sessions.