BERLIN — Police and judicial officials in the German state of Saxony faced a blaze of criticismafter a Syrian man suspected of plotting to bomb a Berlin airport killed himself in a detention center where he had been deemed not at risk of suicide.
Jaber Albakr, 22, who evaded policeand sparked a two-day manhunt before being turned in by fellow Syrians, hanged himself in his cell evening with his T-shirt, officials said.
Facing calls to step down, Saxony’s State Justice Minister Sebastian Gemkow, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, told a news conference the suicide “should never have happened” but he denied authorities had made any mistakes.
Politicians from across the spectrum rounded on Merkel’s conservatives who rule in Saxony after the suicide, which followed the bungled police attempt – acting on a secret service tip-off – to catch Albakr.
“This is an unprecedented sequence of failures by the police and judicial system,” said Thomas Oppermann, head of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) parliamentary group. “It looks as if Saxony lacks any capacity to fight terrorism professionally.”