The Magdeburg Court sentenced a man to four years in prison
The Magdeburg Court sentenced a man to four years in prison

A 24-year-old has been given a multi-year prison term for goading his dogs to attack a Syrian family in Magdeburg. The man also allegedly attacked other people, including those with foreign backgrounds, in recent months.

A regional court in the German city of Magdeburg sentenced a dog owner to prison on Monday for setting his two dogs on a Syrian family at a park, which seriously injured one person.

The 24-year-old German national was found guilty of grievous bodily harm and was sentenced to four years in prison, a spokesman for the court said.

The attack took place at a park in Magdeburg in May this year. According to the court decision, the man was walking his dogs in the park when he noticed a large Syrian family having a picnic.

He spat at the group — which included children — and yelled at them during the first round of his walk. The man later returned to spit at the family again while agitating his two dogs by regularly pulling on their leashes.

When the 29-year-old father of the Syrian family stood up to address the German man, the dogs were off the leash and the animals charged the Syrian father and bit him.

The Syrian man suffered serious injuries due to the bites, the court said, adding that one of the bites in his leg narrowly missed a major vein.  

Read more: German tourism industry launches initiative against xenophobia

Involved in other attacks

The man's defense attorney argued for an acquittal in the case, but the court said it was able to determine that the 24-year-old was the main agitator based on statements from numerous witnesses who were at the park.

Furthermore, the court said the defendant was also involved in several other violent altercations this year.

The 24-year-old also prompted his dogs to attack a German man in March. In Februrary, the same man beat up another man with a foreign background on a tram — eventually turning on another passenger who asked him to leave and attacking him as well.

The man is also accused of trapping his ex-girlfriend in an apartment between August and October 2017 where he regularly beat and abused her. That case was not raised in court on Monday as one of the witnesses is still being assessed, local public broadcaster MDR reported.

First published: December 11, 2018

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