German court jails a man who set off an 18-hour hostage standoff at Hamburg Airport

BERLIN (AP) — A German court on Tuesday convicted a man who drove onto the tarmac at Hamburg Airport with his 4-year-old daughter last year and was arrested after an 18-hour standoff of hostage-taking and other charges. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The Hamburg state court also convicted the 35-year-old defendant, whose name wasn’t released in line with German privacy rules, of removal of a child, intentional bodily harm and possessing ammunition, German news agency dpa reported.

The drama started on the evening of Nov. 4. Witnesses said the defendant, a Turkish citizen, broke through an airport gate, fired into the air and threw two incendiary devices out of the rental car, before shooting into the air and parking the vehicle under a plane just outside a terminal building.

He had taken his daughter from her mother in Stade, some 52 kilometers (32 miles) from Hamburg, in an ongoing custody battle. Prosecutors have said he demanded a plane to fly to Turkey with his daughter and threatened to blow himself up with the child. An apparent explosives belt later turned out to be a fake.

The standoff forced a more than 20-hour halt to flights at the airport. There are no formal pleas in the German legal system, but dpa reported that the defendant largely admitted to the charges against him.

Presiding Judge Torsten Schwarz described his actions as an “act of madness.”

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