The death in a prison cell of a Syrian refugee suspected of planning a bomb attack in Germany is a judicial scandal, his lawyer has said.
Jaber al-Bakr, 22, strangled himself in a jail in Leipzig with his shirt and the government has demanded an immediate inquiry.
His lawyer said the prison was aware Bakr was a suicide risk after he was captured on Monday.
However, regional authorities said he had not been considered an acute risk.
Jaber al-Bakr was detained on Monday on suspicion of plotting to bomb an airport in Berlin, possibly in the coming days.
When police raided his flat in the eastern city of Chemnitz early on Saturday, they found 1.5kg of TATP, a home-made explosive used in the deadly jihadist attacks in Paris last year and in Brussels last March.
Sebastian Gemkow, justice minister in the eastern state of Saxony, told reporters a psychological assessment of the prisoner had been made and safety measures had been taken. And the head of the prison described Bakr during the day as “calm and on an even keel”.
“It shouldn’t have happened, but it did,” the justice minister said, adding that he took responsibility for the suicide but would not resign.
Prison officials rejected reports that Bakr was only being checked on an hourly basis.
Originally, he was given top-level supervision, involving 15-minute intervals, but a panel of experts agreed hours before he died, to lower the regular checks to every 30 minutes.
There is no video monitoring of prisoners held in remand cells in Saxony, said prison governor Rolf Jacob. A guard stationed outside the cell door would have been more appropriate, he acknowledged.
Jabr al-Bakr’s body was found at 19:45 (17:45 GMT) on Wednesday evening 15 minutes after a regular check, the prison governor said. Attempts to resuscitate him failed.