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Hamburg judge hands down first prison sentence for G20 riots

A 21-year-old man has been sentenced to over two years in prison in the first trial connected to the violent riots against the G20 summit in Hamburg. The jail term went beyond the sentence recommended by prosecutors.

A district court in the northern German city of Hamburg has found a 21-year-old Dutch national guilty of breaching the peace, aggravated battery in the serious assault of an officer and resistance to arrest in connection with violent riots against the G20 summit in July.

The man, who was not named by the court, was sentenced to two years and seven months in prison in a decision that was beyond prosecutors' recommended sentence of one year and nine months.

Read more: Hamburg's G20 trials open up political can of worms

The roughly 40 or so spectators gathered in the courtroom for Monday's decision expressed shock over the relatively severe sentence.

The 21-year-old threw two bottles at a police officer on July 6 in the Hamburg neighborhood of Schanzenviertel on the evening before the summit began. He also resisted arrest by curling into a fetal position and tensing his muscles.

It was the first decision to be handed down in trials connected to violent riots that took place before and during the July 7-8 Group of 20 (G20) summit in Hamburg.

Thousands of criminal probes

On Monday, Hamburg police said they had opened over 2,000 criminal investigations related to the anti-G20 violence. Thousands of protesters took to Hamburg's streets in demonstrations against capitalism, globalization and the world leaders who took part in the summit.

During some of the protests, violent clashes broke out between left-wing extremists and police. Rioters also looted shops and torched cars parked on the street.

Read more: Hamburg G20 riot damages run into millions

The violence forced German Chancellor Angela Merkel to defend her decision to host the summit in the port city, while others called for Hamburg mayor Olaf Schulz to resign.

The investigations and trials have also prompted criticism that the courts are deliberately targeting foreign nationals.

Defense lawyer Jonathan Burmeister told DW earlier that his Polish client's case is being used to "send a message" to foreigners coming to Germany for the demonstrations.

Hamburg prosecutors have denied these claims.

Read more: Hamburg G20 riots: Polish man becomes first charged

Out of the over 32 people still in custody, two-thirds are foreign nationals, including people from Russia, Italy, France and Spain.

Last week, the Interior Ministry shut down Germany's main online platform for far-left activists over alleged ties with the G20 riots and other offenses.

The site, linksunten-indymedia.org, let anonymous users organize demonstrations but also allowed them to share instructions on making Molotov cocktails and celebrate violence against police.

rs/cmk (AFP, dpa)

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