A teenage German girl of Moroccan origin went on trial in Germany Thursday for “attempted murder, grievous bodily harm and support for a foreign terrorist organization.”
Safia S., 16, was in the dock in the northern city of Celle, with the court due to decide whether the proceedings would take place behind closed doors because she is a minor.
The German-Moroccan national risks 10 years in prison for stabbing a police officer, an assault allegedly “ordered” by ISIS but which was not claimed by the jihadist group.
Prosecutors said the teenager, who is believed to have been radicalized as a young girl, had sought to catch the attention of police officers by following them around at the main train station in the northern city of Hanover.
As the officers called her over for an identity check, Safia S. stabbed one of them in the neck with a long vegetable knife before being overpowered by another officer.
The injured officer survived after undergoing surgery to stop the bleeding from a more than five centimeter wound.
The teenager was already known to police before the February 26 attack as she had sought to travel to Syria to join ISIS militants a month earlier.
Her mother flew to Istanbul to bring her home and as they landed back in Germany, Safia S. was taken away by police and interrogated over her botched attempt to reach the war zone.
Her mobile phone was also seized, but it was not until after the stabbing assault that investigators translated the Arabic messages on the phone — which had instructed her to commit an “act of martyrdom”.
A German-Syrian man, 20, identified as Mohamed Hasan K. will also stand trial for failing to report Safia S.’s plans to police, even though he was aware that she was plotting to attack an officer.
The young man had sought to flee Germany but was arrested in Greece and extradited on Tuesday evening.
Safia S’s brother had also sought to join the terrorist group in Syria but was arrested and jailed in Turkey, according to news agency DPA.
In a related development, German Justice Minister Heiko Maas has rejected calls for a central prison for all terror suspects.
Due to issues such as isolation, monitoring and suppression of communication, “the accommodation of several terror suspects in one place could lead to considerable disadvantages,” Maas said.
This was demonstrated by examples from the Red Army Faction (RAF) period, he said.