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Right-wing extremist sentenced to life imprisonment for murder of German politician

Right-wing extremist sentenced to life imprisonment for murder of German politician

1.02.2021 | Amelia Rude | U. Pittsburgh School of Law, US JANUARY 31, 2021 11:57:07 AM | 646

The Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt (OLG) sentenced Stephan Ernst, a right-wing extremist, to life imprisonment Thursday for the murder of German politician Walter Lübcke.

Ernst targeted Lübcke after listening to his speech in October 2015 at a citizens’ meeting, during which Lübcke advocated for the accommodation of immigrants seeking protection and stated: “It is worth living in our country. And you have to stand up for values, and those who do not uphold these values ​​can leave this country at any time if they do not agree. That is the freedom of every German.”

Ernst, after attending this meeting, fixated on Lübcke “[who] he viewed as a ‘traitor’ because of his attitude towards refugees.” On June 1, 2019, Ernst shot Lübcke from close range as Lübcke sat on his terrace.

The Court attributed the longevity of Ernst’s sentence to his xenophobic and extremist attitudes, as well as to his previous crimes. Stephan Ernst had been a member of the right-wing scene since 1999 and had been arrested in the past for “serious crimes to the detriment of migrants in his youth.” In January 2016, Ernst was charged with stabbing an Iraqi asylum seeker in the back with a knife, though he was acquitted due to difficulties establishing DNA evidence linking the blood on Ernst’s knife to that of the victim. Ernst believed that the immigration of Muslim migrants would lead to a civil war between Muslim immigrants and ethnic Germans. 

The Court relied on testimony from Dr. Leygraf, a forensic psychiatric expert, that Ernst possessed a “deeply rooted tendency that made him criminal again and again” due to his extreme right-wing views. The court chose to impose a life sentence to prevent Ernst from committing future crimes.

Ernst may appeal the judgment to the Federal Court of Justice.

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