July 31, 2018 - 12:08 AMT
Neo-Nazi bomb attack defendant acquitted by German court

A German court on Tuesday, July 31 acquitted Ralf S. of attempted murder charges for the July 2000 bombing of a train station in eastern Düsseldorf, Deutsche Welle reports.

The prosecution had demanded a life sentence for the 52-year-old, who was a known neo-Nazi, but the Düsseldorf District Court found there was insufficient evidence for a conviction.

A pipe bomb containing about 200 grams (7 ounces) of TNT exploded at Düsseldorf's Wehrhahn train station on the afternoon of July 27, 2000.

Ten people, mostly Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, were badly injured, including a pregnant woman who lost her baby and her foot.

Police investigating the crime received more than 900 tips from the public and testimony from more than 1,000 people, but were unable to successfully prosecute any suspects.

Officers questioned Ralf S. for several hours in the wake of the bombing and placed him under surveillance, but they failed to amass enough evidence tying him to the crime.

In June 2014 a prison inmate told police that the suspect — who was briefly in custody over an unrelated offense — had boasted about carrying out the attack, using a racial slur against immigrants.

The bombing sent shockwaves across Germany, mainly because it appeared to be a right-wing extremist attack targeting Jews, and came around the same time as a number of attacks against foreigners. The failure of the justice system to solve the Düsseldorf case led to questions about possible flaws in the initial investigation — especially in the light of the National Socialist Underground (NSU) murders , which showed that police and intelligence agencies avoided pursuing the lines of inquiry that led to Germany's far-right scene. The neo-Nazi NSU was responsible for 10 murders, two bomb attacks and several bank robberies between 2000 and 2007.