Germany: Man charged with producing biological weapon at home in Cologne

Sief Allah H. was arrested after police in Cologne found a deadly toxin in his apartment. A local newspaper reported that the suspect came to Germany in 2016 and had terrorist sympathies.

Federal prosecutors on Thursday charged a 29-year-old Tunisian citizen in the western city of Cologne with producing a biological weapon after police found highly toxic ricin in his apartment.

Sief Allah H. has been in police custody on suspicion of violating the War Weapons Control Act since special police and fire units found the ricin during a raid of his home late on Tuesday.

Security services first became suspicious after H. ordered 1000 ricinus seeds and a coffee grinder from an online store, prosecutors said, adding that he successfully produced ricin in June.

Possession of the highly toxic substance is restricted by a 1997 international convention on chemical weapons. Exposure causes organ failure and death can occur within 36 to 48 hours, according to Germany’s Robert Koch Institute, which categorizes ricin as a “potential biological weapon.”

Reported IS sympathies

The man first came to Germany in November 2016, local daily Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger reported. He reportedly had sympathies for the “Islamic State” (IS), the Islamist terror group that has carried out attacks in Europe and fought in the war in Syria.

But prosecutors said they have not found evidence the man was planning an attack or that he was a member of any terrorist organization.

The newspaper also reported that authorities had been observing the suspect for some time. Police reportedly decided to raid his home after discovering that he had ordered ricinus seeds online.

German news agency dpa reported that the suspect’s wife, who was also in the apartment on Tuesday, is not suspected of any involvement in the man’s alleged plans.

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