22-year-old jailed for attempted arson attack on German synagogue

Perpetrator with far-right political views admits to smashing building’s window, trying to throw fireworks inside

A police car stands in front of the synagogue in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
A police car stands in front of the synagogue in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

BERLIN — A German court on Friday convicted a man of attempted arson for a New Year’s Eve incident in which he broke a window at a synagogue in Bavaria, then tried to light a firework and throw it into the building.

The district court in Bamberg sentenced the 22-year-old, who also was convicted of damage to property, to 2 1/2 years in prison, German news agency dpa reported. His name wasn’t released in keeping with German privacy rules.

The defendant acknowledged during his trial that he had far-right views.

He admitted to the charges, though he said he couldn’t remember everything because he was intoxicated at the time of the incident in the small town of Ermreuth.

He said he regretted his actions and asserted that he didn’t know what prompted him to take them.

Surveillance camera footage showed that, after breaking the window, the man tried repeatedly — and unsuccessfully — to light a firework and throw it into the synagogue. No one was in the building at the time.

Prosecutors had sought a three-year sentence. The defense called for a suspended sentence of two years at most.

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