Man arrested in Germany for making biological weapon at home: report
In March, a 61-year-old self-taught scientist Mike Hughes stunned the world by propelling himself 1,875 feet into the air in his privately made rocket. But while that occasion was more of a pride for human race, another instance of private entrepreneurship recently has left it more afraid.
German lawkeepers have charged a Tunisian citizen with making a biological weapon in his own apartment after discovering significant amount of ricin - a highly toxic substance - there, a report published in intelligence and espionage news website IntelNews on Monday, June 18, said.
The accused, in his late 20s, has been referred to publicly as "Sief Allah H." since German law prohibits naming of suspects until proven guilty in court. Last week, the German authorities said the man has been sent to custody and was accused of violating the country's War Weapons Control Act and "preparing a serious act of violence against the state", the IntelNews report added.
The report cited other reports as saying that the German sleuths acted after receiving a tip-off in May that a man had purchased a coffee grinder and 1,000 castor seeds. Processing castor seeds can lead to creation of a ricin byproduct which in turn can be weaponised in the form of powder, solid pellets or fine mist, it said, adding that the end product is more powerful than even toxic substances like cyanide. It is potentially dangerous for human body and can lead to fatalities in no time and also has no known remedy, the IntelNews report added.
The authorities then started tracking the man and his movements in Cologne, near the borders with Belgium and the Netherlands and by the time June arrived, they came to know that the accused had produced enough ricin to make as many as 1,000 lethal doses, the report added.
The matter assumed more seriousness as the German media reported the man to be an Islamic State (IS) sympathiser although the officials found no direct link between him and any militant organisations, either in Germany or elsewhere, the IntelNews report added.
Even though there was evidence that the man had planned a real attack at any place or any time, Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution said it was "very likely" that arresting "Sief Allah H." had averted a terrorist attack.
Last week, German newsmagazine Der Spiegel said the suspect had made ricin by following instructions posted online by the IS.
Over the weekend, the German authorities have conducted search in many other apartments in Cologne to see if there were more leads into such instances, the report added.