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Suspect in Berlin motorway attack detained in psychiatric hospital

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By AP  with Euronews
An investigator pictured at the scene on the BAB 100 motorway near Berlin.
An investigator pictured at the scene on the BAB 100 motorway near Berlin.   -   Copyright  Paul Zinken/dpa via AP

A man who deliberately drove into other vehicles on a German motorway has been detained in a psychiatric hospital.

A Berlin court ruled that the 31-year-old man -- identified only as Sarmad A. -- could not be held criminally responsible for his actions.

Judges said he was suffering from “acute psychotic illness” at the time of the incident in August 2020.

The man's car had collided with several other vehicles while speeding along the BAB 100 road near the German capital. He later rammed two motorcycles and another motorised scooter, seriously injuring three people.

Witnesses heard the suspect call himself a “soldier of God” and shout “Allahu akbar”. He also reportedly unrolled a prayer mat onto the motorway and prayed.

But the Berlin district court ruled that the rampage was not an Islamic extremist attack and that religious and Islamist motives were mixed into his “delusional action.”

Judges did however rule that the 31-year-old posed a danger to the public.

Officials said at the time of the attack that the Iraqi’s asylum application was rejected in 2017, but authorities did not deport him due to Iraq’s unstable security situation.