Allegations traded in trial of man who stabbed Frankfurt rabbi

Frankfurt, GermanyFrankfurt- Lawyers in the trial of a young German man of Afghan origin who has admitted stabbing a Frankfurt rabbi on the street last year, traded accusations centred on anti-semitism Monday.

The lawyer defending Sahed A, 23, issued a personal statement in response to an allegation made by the lawyer representing the victim, Zalman Gurevich, a 42-year-old rabbi of the Chabad-Lubavitch, a Hasidic movement within Orthodox Judaism.

"I will not be accused of anti-semitism," Ulrich Endres said, adding the allegations appeared to have been based on what he had quoted from prosecution submissions.

Endres said he would take legal action in the absence of an apology.

On Monday, the third day of proceedings, evidence was led on Gurevich's character, the court hearing that the rabbi had faced charges for driving without a licence, failing to pay his bills and for providing false information to the police.

Investigations were also proceeding into fraud and the non-payment of social insurance dues.

Gurevich said in justification that he had suffered a lengthy illness, during which the financial affairs of the Frankfurt branch of his movement had been neglected.

At the start of proceedings on April 17, Sahed A, who faces a charge of attempted manslaughter, made a partial admission of guilt regarding the incident which took place on September 7.

But he denied shouting racist insults as he stabbed Gurevich in the abdomen.

The accused, who is unemployed, said he was "as always" severely under the influence of cannabis after smoking four or five joints on the day of the attack and could not recall using his knife.

He had recognized his victim as a Jew by his full beard.

The accused, who was born in Frankfurt to Afghan parents, apologized for the attack and acknowledged that he had caused serious distress and pain. (dpa)