German police under pressure to explain terrorist suspect's suicide

German lawmakers have slammed the suicide of a Syrian terrorist suspect in his cell as a "fiasco" and a "tragedy" as police and justice officials face pressure on why the high-risk 22-year-old was able to take his own life.

Jaber al-Bakr was found hanged in his cell at a prison in Leipzig late Wednesday, two days after he was arrested on suspicion of planning a bomb attack on a German airport.

His defence lawyer Alexander Huebner said he had been informed his client was under constant surveillance. However, the tabloid Bild reported that the Syrian's cell was only checked at intervals of a little under one hour.

In comments to Deutschlandfunk, Green politician Konstantin von Notz called the suicide a "fiasco" of the justice system in the eastern state of Saxony.

Wolfgang Bosbach of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats called the suspect's death a "tragedy," adding that "an important source of information" had been lost.

The investigation has been a series of embarrassments for police in Saxony since al-Bakr narrowly avoided arrest in a raid on his flat on Saturday.

He was later captured and handed over to police by three Syrian refugees. Sources have told dpa that al-Bakr had accused the refugees of complicity in the planned attack, but the veracity of that claim is unclear.

Sebastian Gemkow, Saxon's minister of justice, said he would give further details regarding the suicide at a press conference at 11 am (0900 GMT).

Last update: Thu, 13/10/2016 - 12:07
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