Synagogue attack ‘not a mistake,’ insists neo-Nazi at German trial
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Synagogue attack ‘not a mistake,’ insists neo-Nazi at German trial

Stephan Balliet smiles as video of shooting plays in court, where he stands accused of killing two people after failing to storm Halle synagogue

Stephan Balliet (C), who is accused of shooting dead two people after attempting to storm a synagogue in Halle an der Saale, eastern Germany, is escorted to a courtroom at the second day of his trial on July 22, 2020, in Magdeburg, eastern Germany. (Hendrik Schmidt POOL/ AFP)
Stephan Balliet (C), who is accused of shooting dead two people after attempting to storm a synagogue in Halle an der Saale, eastern Germany, is escorted to a courtroom at the second day of his trial on July 22, 2020, in Magdeburg, eastern Germany. (Hendrik Schmidt POOL/ AFP)

MAGDEBURG, Germany — A neo-Nazi suspect accused of the worst anti-Semitic attack in post-war Germany told a court on Wednesday that his assault on a synagogue had not been “a mistake,” as plaintiffs walked out when a video of the violence was played.

Stephan Balliet, 28, stands accused of shooting dead two people last October, after he tried and failed to storm a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle last year.

Showing no signs of remorse, he insisted to the court that “attacking the synagogue was not a mistake. They are my enemies.”

He has been charged with two counts of murder and multiple counts of attempted murder in a case that has deeply rattled the country and fueled alarm about rising right-wing extremism and anti-Jewish violence, 75 years after the end of the Nazi era.

On the second day of the trial, the video filmed and streamed live by Balliet during the assault was played as evidence, prompting some to leave the room, while others covered their ears or looked at the floor during the 30 minutes when the scenes played out.

Balliet meanwhile smiled as the video began playing.

Noting that everyone has a right to life regardless of their origin or religion, federal prosecutor Kai Lohse told the accused: “You will have some time to think about this.”

If convicted, Balliet could face a life sentence.

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