Berlin migrant jailed for fire attack on homeless man

Two of six young men accused of setting fire to a sleeping homeless man hide their faces as they arrive for their trial at court in Berlin, 13 June 2017 Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption All of the men linked to the attack came to Berlin as asylum seekers

A young migrant who set fire to a homeless man at a Berlin underground station on Christmas Day last year has been jailed for nearly three years.

The 21-year-old was among a group of seven Syrian and Libyan migrants who attacked the man as he slept.

Three 17 and 18 year olds were found guilty of attempted grievous bodily harm and received suspended sentences.

None of the suspects charged attempted to assist the victim, who was unharmed. The incident was captured on CCTV.

All of the men linked to the attack came to Berlin as asylum seekers in 2014 and 2016, some as unaccompanied minors, according to the prosecutor's office.

The victim, a 37-year-old Polish man, was sleeping on a bench under sheets of paper in the Schoenleinstrasse underground station in the southern Berlin district of Neukoelln when he was targeted at about 02:00 (01:00 GMT).

He had a cover over his head and was using a rucksack as a pillow, which caught fire and started to burn.

A train driver used a fire extinguisher to control the flames as passers-by helped to put them out.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The man had been sleeping on a bench in the underground station when he was attacked

The 21-year-old ringleader, whose name has not been released under German privacy rules, argued in court that he had only intended to "startle" the victim, local media report.

Prosecutors had requested the more serious charge of attempted murder after footage emerged of the suspects, six of whom are from Syria and one is from Libya, laughing as they left the scene and entered a train.

Two other teenagers must serve community service for failing to help the man, who managed to escape serious injury.

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