A neo-Nazi sympathizer has been sentenced to life in prison for assassinating pro-migration German lawmaker Walter Luebcke on 1 June 2019.
On Thursday, 47-year-old Stephan Ernst was found guilty of gunning down Luebcke, 65, at his home near the town of Kassel, in what was thought to be Germany’s first political assassination since the Second World War.
Prosecutors said that the member of Angela Merkel's CDU party was shot in the head at close range, a killing that took place four years after Luebcke supported the German Chancellor’s decision in 2015 to open the country’s borders to migrants.
According to the prosecution, Ernst had been motivated by “racism and xenophobia” as he decided to assassinate the conservative lawmaker, who delivered a speech in October 2015, in which he called for helping refugees and said that all those who defy this were “free to leave the country”.
Prosecutors pointed out that Ernst “increasingly projected his hatred of foreigners” on to Luebcke, following the MP’s speech.
Luebcke's assassination was followed by a synagogue shooting in the eastern German city of Halle which claimed the lives of at least two people and which was described as the country's worst anti-Semitic atrocity since World War II. 28-year-old neo-Nazi Stephan Balliet was sentenced to life in prison for being behind the attack.
This was preceded by German police being criticised for failing to tackle racist crimes after it emerged that the National Socialist Underground, believed to be a neo-Nazi terror cell, had killed at least 10 people, mainly migrants, between 2000 in 2007.