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Man Arrested In German Bomb Plot Commits Suicide In Jail


And a Syrian refugee committed suicide last night in a German jail. Just days ago, he was turned in by other Syrian migrants there. Suspected in a plot to set off a bomb in a Berlin airport. And he hanged himself, even though he was under round-the-clock observation. That's raising questions for jail officials, as NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports.

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: Local justice officials confirm Jaber al-Bakr committed suicide, and say they will give more details later this morning. Many German news outlets report the 22-year-old Syrian suspect hanged himself, even though he had been on suicide watch. His lawyer told the German online magazine Focus that he was stunned authorities left him alone. He said al-Bakr earlier tried to hurt himself by breaking lamps and pulling the covers off electric sockets. Many German politicians are also demanding an explanation. Parliamentarian Tobias Lindner of the Green Party tweeted, how can someone who is supposedly under constant observation be found hanged?

Shortly before his death, al-Bakr is reported to have implicated the three Syrian refugees who turned him in as co-conspirators in the Berlin airport bombing plot. The three men, who've sought anonymity, are widely hailed as heroes here, with some lawmakers saying they should receive medals. Investigators haven't commented on al-Bakr's allegation. The only other person in custody is a man police are calling Khalil A. He is a Syrian who leased the apartment where al-Bakr is accused of trying to build a bomb.

Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, NPR News, Berlin. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Special correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is based in Berlin. Her reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and read at NPR.org. From 2012 until 2018 Nelson was NPR's bureau chief in Berlin. She won the ICFJ 2017 Excellence in International Reporting Award for her work in Central and Eastern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan.
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