Demand for answers as 'the most watched prisoner in Germany' kills himself

Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maiziere and head of the Federal Agency of Migration and Refugees Frank-Juergen Weise hold a press conference regarding the numbers of asylum seeker for September 2016 as well as the third quarter 2016 in the Federal press conference in Berlin, Germany, Oct. 12, 2016. (Kay Nietfeld/dpa via AP)

Investigators were on Thursday asking how a Syrian suspected of planning a bomb attack on a Berlin airport managed to kill himself in prison despite being considering a suicide risk. They say Jaber Albakr, 22, hanged himself by his shirt to the bars of his cell and was found dead 15 minutes after being checked by a prison guard. His death came after he destroyed a lighting fixture in his cell on Tuesday although prison boss Rolf Jacob said "it was not interpreted as a suicide attempt". However, critics say he should have been under constant watch and his death will make it difficult to find out if he had accomplices in his plot.

I'm unbelievably shocked and absolutely speechless that something like this could have happened

Albakr's public defender Alexander Huebner

Albakr, who was said to be planning an attack similar to those seen in Brussels and Paris, was arrested on Monday after two Syrians tied up the suspect in their flat in Leipzig and alerted police. Police are already facing accusations that they botched an attempt on Saturday to capture him, leading to a two-day manhunt. Now, fresh questions have emerged over his detention. Security expert Wolfgang Bosbach, a senior member of chancellor Angela Merkel's party, said that given his behaviour, Albakr should have been under constant observation. "The suicide danger was known, it was not just an assumption," he said.

How could this happen? He must have been the best-guarded prisoner in Germany

Mr Huebner
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Albakr was being held in Leipzig

Topic in-depth

Politicians respond with shock and dismay after Albakrs Leipzig jail death | News

Germany's interior ministry has demanded a "fast and comprehensive explanation" of how Jaber Albakr was able to commit suicide under surveillance. The Syrian had allegedly been planning a terror attack.

Topic in-depth

German terror suspect Jaber al-Bakr's jail death a scandal, says lawyer

The death in a prison cell of a Syrian refugee suspected of planning a bomb attack in Germany is a judicial scandal, his lawyer has said.
BBC News