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Scandalous suicide

October 13, 2016

Despite close monitoring, the terror suspect Jaber Albakr was able to kill himself in prison. His suicide has dealt a blow to the anti-terror fight, writes DW's Marcel Fürstenau.

Polizei Sachsen Fahndungsbild Jaber Albakr
Image: Polizei Sachsen

This suicide will have consequences for politicians, the judiciary and security agencies. It is still too early to point any accusing fingers, but there is not the slightest doubt about the scandalous nature of this death. There were too many discrepancies even before Albakr's suicide. Here, a quick review: The terror suspect Jaber Albakr, a Syrian refugee, managed to evade the police despite a large-scale manhunt. The intensive search for the suspect was initially fruitless until his own countrymen recognized him and reported him to the police.

Germany breathed a sigh a relief. The acute terrorist threat ascertained by a national intelligence agency had been averted. And now, the main suspect, the bomb maker, has managed to take his life under the noses of prison guards. It renders one speechless to think that he succeeded in doing so - no matter what the circumstances. Authorities should have taken into account that a dangerous and high-profile prisoner may think of killing himself.

Deutsche Welle Marcel Fürstenau Kommentarbild ohne Mikrofon
DW's Marcel FürstenauImage: DW

Likely the most important witness, Albakr is now dead and will obviously not testify. No one knows if he would have commented at all on the allegations brought up against him, but now, it's all speculation.

In any case, there was a faint hope of him saying something. German security agencies may have obtained clues about backers and organizational structures. Clues leading to the prevention of potential bomb attacks may have been helpful. All of these questions are, admittedly, speculation but they are not far off the mark.

Apart from these hypotheses, Albakr has now probably become a martyr in Islamist terrorist circles. By their morbid and cynical reasoning, he liberated himself from the clutches of the infidels by committing suicide. If you look at it that way, Albakr's suicide is a kind of suicide attack. Normally, bombs explode or perpetrators shoot wildly in all directions. Luckily, in the case of Albakr, no innocent people were killed. But in the course of investigations, there will be more victims. The responsible politicians and law enforcement officials who have failed will lose their jobs – it would be hard to believe if they don't.

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