A Syrian man arrested on suspicion of plotting a jihadist bomb attack on a Berlin airport was found dead in his cell after an apparent suicide, sparking outrage over a "judicial scandal".
Jaber al-Bakr, who was arrested two days earlier on Monday following a nationwide manhunt after police found explosives in his apartment, was discovered dead in his jail cell in the eastern city of Leipzig, reported Germany'sBild daily and national news agency DPA.
"Jaber al-Bakr took his own life in the Leipzig prison hospital," the Government of the eastern, ex-communist state of Saxony said in a statement, without elaborating.
Al-Bakr, 22, had narrowly evaded police commandos on Saturday but was arrested some 48 hours later, thanks to three compatriots now widely lauded as heroes, who said that after recognising him, they tied him up and handed him to police.
Politicians and the suspect's defence lawyer reacted with outrage over the death in custody which followed what was widely seen as a botched police search that ended only thanks to the three other Syrian asylum seekers.
On Saturday, police closed in on his communist-era flat in the eastern city of Chemnitz, but he managed to slip away after they fired a warning shot, sparking a weekend-long nationwide manhunt and high alerts at railway stations and airports.Germany's domestic security service had first alerted police last Friday that al-Bakr may be plotting a bomb attack, and police investigators have since said he was thought to have had links with the Isis (Islamic State).
Police then discovered 1.5kg of TATP, the homemade explosive dubbed the "mother of Satan" that was used by Isis jihadists in the Paris and Brussels attacks, in his flat.
Investigators said the explosives were "almost ready or even ready for use," and that he was apparently preparing a "bomb, possibly in the form of a suicide vest".