Right-wing extremism: Halle assassin shows his danger when taking hostages

He assassinated the synagogue in Halle on the holiest Jewish holiday, killing two people.

Right-wing extremism: Halle assassin shows his danger when taking hostages

He assassinated the synagogue in Halle on the holiest Jewish holiday, killing two people. Two years ago he was sentenced to the maximum sentence for the racist and anti-Semitic act.

As soon as the verdict was pronounced, he threw an object in the direction of the joint plaintiffs. The 30-year-old Halle assassin is now also showing his danger in prison. On Monday evening, he took two staff members hostage one after the other and forced them to give him access to the outside area within the prison walls. According to the Saxony-Anhalt Ministry of Justice, his goal was to gain freedom.

Eight correctional officers were able to overpower the offender after less than an hour. The Halle assassin was injured, but not seriously, according to the state Ministry of Justice. The two men taken hostage were not injured, but are being cared for.

Was a homemade weapon used?

Now it remains to be clarified how the 30-year-old managed to take the hostages. Saxony-Anhalt's Minister of Justice Franziska Weidinger (CDU) said that the prisoner would be closely monitored and controlled in the high-security prison in Burg. He lives in a neat solitary cell. He may own everyday items.

It is unclear what kind of object the prisoner used to threaten the officers. The investigation is ongoing. Weidinger did not confirm media reports about the alleged use of a home-made weapon. The investigations into the background continued, she could not yet provide any detailed information, said in the state parliament. "This concerns details of the means of crime, it concerns police reports as to whether a shot was actually fired." You do not yet have any reliable information on this.

A spokesman for the public prosecutor's office in Naumburg told the German Press Agency that he had not yet received any concrete information. He could not confirm the use of a weapon. The responsible public prosecutor's office in Stendal does not yet have any files and could not say anything about the possible use of a weapon, as a spokesman said on request.

Largely uncooperative behavior

According to the State Ministry of Justice, the Halle assassin used the phase of the lock-up before the night around 9 p.m. to bring the first officer into his power. He forced him to go with him on the path to the free hour courtyard. There the prisoner, gesticulating vigorously, asked another member of staff to pave the way inside the facility for him. It is still unclear exactly how many doors the staff opened for the 30-year-old. According to the state justice minister, several employees followed the hostage-taker and the colleague. The staff acted calmly and prudently, emphasized the minister.

The hostage-taking is the preliminary climax of the largely uncooperative behavior of the Halle assassin. Insiders report many "little bugs" that he allows himself. It ties up a lot of the staff's energy and thus ensures that the usual procedures for other prisoners cannot always be followed. The ministry reported a case in which the 30-year-old wedged his cell door with paper. As a disciplinary measure, he was forbidden any contact with others and housed in a bare room.

State Minister of Justice Weidinger said after the hostage-taking: "I am shocked to see that the prisoner apparently does not change his basic attitude and acts without considering the life and limb of others." The Halle assassin Stephan Balliet was sentenced to life imprisonment and subsequent preventive detention on December 21, 2020. He is serving his sentence in Burg prison. It is the largest and most modern high-security prison in Saxony-Anhalt.

Saxony-Anhalt's Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff wants to work up the incident. "Now it's time to analyze what's happening and draw possible consequences for the future," said the CDU politician. The incident shows the danger that the Halle assassin still poses. "I thank the correctional officers and police officers for their quick and professional action."

The legal committee of the state parliament in Magdeburg is to meet for a special session on Wednesday. Several MPs had previously suggested this.

Assassin has already tried to escape from the prison

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser called on prison operators to review their security measures. The SPD politician told the Welt television channel that she was taking the hostages. "That calls on those who are responsible for prisons in Germany to take a very close look again. Especially with someone like the Halle assassin, where we know that he tried to escape during the trial, that it was there too special attention."

On the Pentecost weekend of 2020, the man had already tried to escape from the Halle prison. During a yard walk, he climbed a 12-foot fence and spent five minutes unsupervised looking for a way out of prison before court officials caught him again.

On October 9, 2019, the right-wing extremist assassin tried to storm the synagogue in Halle on Yom Kippur, the highest Jewish holiday, and to cause a massacre. He threw incendiary and explosive devices and shot at the access door. When he was unable to get onto the premises, he murdered a 40-year-old passer-by in front of the synagogue and a 20-year-old in a nearby kebab shop. He injured other people while fleeing.