By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ
NEW YORK CITY (JTA) – The far-right extremist who attempted to shoot his way into the synagogue in Halle, Germany on Yom Kippur last year has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of two people outside of the synagogue.
Stephan Balliet, 28, was sentenced Monday, Dec. 21, by a court in Magdeburg near Berlin and denied the option of an early release after his first 15 years in prison.
The sentence he received is therefore unlimited, pending his death or health-related changes in the conditions of his incarceration. It is the harshest prescribed punishment in the German criminal code, DPA reported.
During the months-long trial, Balliet said he carried out the attack because he believed “Jews were ruining Germany.” In his closing argument earlier this month, Balliet denied the Holocaust several times, ignoring the judge’s warning that doing so was illegal. He also attempted to escape prison.
On Oct. 9, 2019, Balliet showed up at the Halle synagogue with the intent of murdering congregants praying inside, prosecutors say. The heavy front door, which is now being repurposed into a memorial, kept him out.
He proceeded to shoot and kill two at a nearby kebab shop.
Josef Schuster, the head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, wrote in a statement that the verdict “makes clear that murderous hatred of Jews is met with no tolerance. Up to the end, the attacker showed no remorse, but kept to his hate-filled anti-Semitic and racist world view.”