BERLIN (AP) — A German court convicted the owner of a Turkish restaurant Tuesday of ordering an arson attack that he blamed on far-right extremists in the eastern city of Chemnitz four years ago.
The arson attack in October 2018 happened a few weeks after Chemnitz was shaken by anti-migrant protests following the killing of a German man for which a Syrian migrant was later convicted.
The Chemnitz regional court ruled found the 50-year-old restaurant owner guilty of 15 counts of attempted murder and fraud. Judges said he had ordered the attack to obtain a large insurance payout, leaving open a window through which unknown accomplices were able to enter the restaurant.
At the time of the attack, 15 people were sleeping in apartments above the restaurant. Nobody was seriously injured.
German police initially said a xenophobic motive couldn’t be ruled out but that they were investigating “in all directions.”
The court sentenced the defendant to eight years in prison, German news agency dpa reported.
The defendant’s lawyers had sought his acquittal. The verdict can be appealed.