UPDATE: The Federal Court of Justice has just (10:20pm CET) confirmed that the material found is to be classed as “biological warfare”, and turned the preliminary custody into a proper arrest.
Cologne: Tunisian Arrested on Suspicion of Preparing Toxic Attack
by Egri Nök
An original translation from Kölner Express:
Terror Suspicion in Cologne: Poison Lethal in Smallest Doses. What did the Tunisian plan?
by David Keller and Robert Baumanns
June 13, 2018
Cologne — what was he planning, the 29-year-old Tunisian who was arrested Tuesday night in his apartment in Chorweiler?
Kölner Express and Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger learned from investigative circles that the substance discovered during the special forces operation on Tuesday night in the apartment of the suspect: Ricin is the third most poisonous substance in the world — 25,000 times more poisonous than strychnine.
The investigators acted at 8pm. The Office for the Protection of the State had received clues that the suspect was handling highly toxic substances in his apartment.
The Poison Ricin
Most people aren’t aware that one of the deadliest poisons in the world can be processed from the same plant used to make the harmless castor oil. If, when pressing the oil, the toxic components of the seeds completely remain in the residue and not in the oil, the smallest quantities of ricin can kill a person.
For children, five, and for adults, between ten and twenty seeds, or one milligram of the poison are enough. The substance ricin damages the digestive tract — colon, kidneys and liver. The mucosal membranes of the stomach and of the colon die and internal bleeding occurs. So far there is no antidote or vaccine.
Investigations are Continuing
It has not yet been announced how much of this substance was discovered in the apartment. The specialists were still on site Wednesday morning to carry out further examinations.
The main suspect is still in police custody. He is currently being interrogated. His wife, allegedly a German who converted to Islam, has been released in the meantime.
The Federal Prosecutor’s Office has taken over investigations, as a terrorist background cannot be ruled out. Current investigations are for the suspicion of a “grave subversive act of violence”, but it has yet to be verified whether the composition and amount of the substances discovered might have negative consequences.
Contrary to the initial police statement reported earlier, the four underage children, one of them a baby, were not taken into custody by the city of Cologne. As the Federal Attorney is not investigating the Tunisian’s wife, but only the husband himself, the wife and her children were released later that same night.
Tunisian Hadn’t Been in Germany Long
As Kölner Express and Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger also learned, the suspect only came to Germany in November 2016. He was deemed unremarkable and hadn’t drawn police attention upon himself previously.
He only came onto the radar of State Protection and investigative authorities after they were tipped off. From then on he was surveilled, and now has been arrested by special forces officers (SEK) to avert risk.
Video from Die Welt:
|00:00||Police arrest the 29-year-old Tunisian.|
|00:03||His face is hidden under a spit cap.|
|00:06||His heavily pregnant wife is taken into custody, too. Then special forces|
|00:10||for countering chemical weapons move into Cologne’s problem district Chorweiler.|
|00:15||In the apartment, unknown substances are found.|
|00:18||According to information obtained by Kölner Express and Kölner Stadtanzeiger,|
|00:22||it is the highly toxic chemical ricin.|
|00:25||It is derived from the same plant from which the harmless castor oil is processed.|
|00:30||Police though do not want to confirm this for the time being.|
|00:33||André Faßbender, Cologne Police: “For us, the responsible local police,|
|00:37||it was important to react quickly, before any damage might occur.|
|00:40||This means that we decided to seize the moment,|
|00:44||which led to our taking these two people into custody.”|
|00:47||The fifteen-storey building was cordoned off. A neighboring apartment was searched, too,|
|00:51||in which the Tunisian had allegedly lived previously.|
|00:55||The family reportedly had to change apartments due to water damage.|
|00:58||The neighbors are shocked, too. Usuna Yusuf, neighbor:|
|01:02||“He had been arrested before; the police were here; he was banned from the apartment for 12 days.|
|01:05||So he stood down here, and I calmed him down, to stop him making noise, and to please leave.|
|01:12||For the sake of the children. So he walked away. He was always beating his wife.”|
|01:16||The German wife of the 29-year-old allegedly converted to Islam for his sake.|
|01:21||The children are currently in the custody of the Youth Welfare Office.