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Ahmadinejad blames Germany for courtroom killing

12/07/2009 - 18:09

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed Germany on Sunday for the murder of an Egyptian woman in a German courtroom and said it should face U.N. condemnation, state media reported.

Marwa El-Sherbiny, 31, mother of a 3-year-old and three months pregnant, was stabbed 18 times by a man against whom she was testifying during an appeal hearing in Dresden on July 1, German prosecutors said.

Her killer also stabbed her husband, whom German police then mistook for the attacker and shot in the leg, prosecutors said.

"The judge, jury and German government are all criminals in this regard and must be (held) responsible," the website of state broadcaster IRIB quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

"We want the Security Council to condemn them," said Ahmadinejad, who often criticises the West.

The hard-line president accused the West of double standards on human rights, apparently a reference to frequent Western criticism of the Islamic Republic's human rights record.

On Saturday, a group of hard-line Iranians gathered in front of the German embassy in Tehran in a protest against the courtroom killing, some of them throwing eggs at the main gate, a witness told Reuters.

German prosecutors said the killer, a German of Russian origin, was appealing against a conviction for insulting Sherbiny by calling her an "Islamist," "terrorist" and "slut" when she asked him to make room for her son to go on the swings at a playground.

The murder has caused anger in Iran, where hundreds of worshippers condemned the crime at Friday prayers, and state media called her a "martyr" of Islamic values.

Iran summoned the German ambassador to Iran, Herbert Honsowitz, on Friday to protest against the murder, urging Berlin to do more to protect the rights of religious minorities in Germany.

Sherbiny's body was flown to Cairo and her funeral took place last Monday. Her murder also caused anger in Egypt.

(Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Andrew Dobbie)

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