|Page (1) of 1 - 10/05/11||email article||print page|
Man on trial for killing 2 US airmen says violence not justified by Islam, he was misled
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) ' The Kosovo Albanian man on trial for killing two U.S. airmen at the Frankfurt Airport said Wednesday he no longer believes in jihad ' holy war ' and he had fallen victim to extremist "propaganda."
Arid Uka is charged with two counts of murder for the March 2 slayings of Senior Airman Nicholas J. Alden, 25, from South Carolina, and Airman 1st Class Zachary R. Cuddeback, 21, from Virginia.
The 21-year-old also faces three counts of attempted murder for wounding two more airmen and taking aim at a third before his gun misfired.
He confessed to the attacks as his trial opened in August, saying that the night before the crime he had seen an online video that purported to show American soldiers raping a teenage Muslim girl. It turned out to be a scene from the 2007 anti-war Brian De Palma-directed film "Redacted," taken out of context.
At the time, he said the video prompted him to take action, saying that he wanted to do anything possible to prevent more Americans from going to Afghanistan.
Despite admitting to the crimes, no pleas are entered in under the German system and the court still has to hear all the evidence in the case.
When asked in court Wednesday whether he still believed that the Islamic religion sanctioned killing, he said only in cases of self defense.
"What I did, certainly not," he told the court.
But he said he has not abandoned his religion.
"I still believe in God ... I'm still a Muslim ... I still pray," he said.
In other evidence Wednesday, the court heard a report from the Federal Criminal Police Office's forensic examination of the 9mm Argentine-made pistol and the ammunition used in the slaying.
Experts determined that the weapon misfired because of a defect in one of the bullets, which came from three different manufacturers.
Uka has refused to tell the court where he got the gun, but said Wednesday he did not know why the ammunition came from three places ' saying only that he had received it and the weapon in a bag together.