Failed Asylum-Seeker Charged With Rape and Murder in Germany’s ‘Susanna Case’

January 24, 2019 Updated: January 24, 2019

German prosecutors have announced child rape and murder charges against a rejected Iraqi Kurdish asylum-seeker in a case that sparked a heated debate about immigrant crime.

Authorities alleged in a Jan. 23 statement cited by AFP that 21-year-old Ali Bashar beat and raped 14-year-old Susanna Maria Feldman, before strangling the young girl to death.

The horrific crime is alleged to have been committed in a wooded area near Bashar’s refugee shelter in the German city of Wiesbaden on May 23, 2018. An autopsy cited by Reuters revealed signs of a violent and sexual attack.

Bashar also stands accused of raping an 11-year-old girl twice—first after locking her in his room, and then once again in a supermarket parking lot.

suspect Ali Bashar escorted by police
Law enforcement officers escort suspect Ali Bashar to police headquarters in Wiesbaden, Germany, on June 10, 2018. (Boris Roessler/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP reported that prosecutors also charged an Afghan youth, identified only as Mansoor Q., in the rape of the 11-year-old girl. Mansoor Q. was believed to be aged at least 14 at the time of the assault.

Prosecutors said Ali Bashar’s younger brother—who is believed to be in Iraq, according to media reports—had also taken part in a violent sexual assault against the younger girl.

Ali Bashar and Susanna Maria Feldman
Undated social media photos published in Kurdish media showing Ali Bashar (L) and Susanna Maria Feldman, the 14-year-old Bashar is accused of raping and murdering. (Facebook)

The Extradition

After the crimes were committed, Bashar fled to northern Iraq, and German authorities declared him a wanted fugitive and issued an arrest warrant.

“After we received his info and photos from the [German] Ministry of Interior, we searched for him in Zakho and found him very shortly in one of the neighborhoods in the city,” Duhok city police chief Tariq Ahmed told Kurdistan24. He added that Bashar had been interrogated and confessed to the murder.

“He admitted that he killed the girl,” Ahmed said, with expectations mounting that Bashar might be extradited to Germany and there face trial for the crimes.

Ahmed told Kurdistan24 reporters that the Kurdistan Region has “strong ties with Germany, European countries, and with Interpol regarding this case,” but any decision to extradite the Iraqi Kurdish man “depends on what the Kurdistan Regional Government and the German government agree on.”

Bashar was ultimately extradited in a mission joined personally by German federal police chief Dieter Romann, according to Bild Daily.

Romann had reportedly developed close working relations with Kurdish and Iraqi forces, facilitating Bashar’s transfer to Germany, despite no formal extradition treaty.

murder suspect inside helicopter
Ali Bashar enters a helicopter in Wiesbaden, Germany, on June 10, 2018, before his transfer to prison. (Hasan Bratic/AFP/Getty Images)

The ‘Susanna Case’

Ahmed told Kurdistan24 that Bashar told interrogators he and the German teen were friends who were “on a trip to the woods” where “they consumed a lot of alcohol and drugs.”

The suspect and the victim then reportedly got into an argument of an unspecified nature, the police chief said, prompting the girl to try to call the police.

The chief said Bashar told police that he was afraid of the consequences of being caught with illicit substances in the company of an underage girl, so he “choked her and buried her beneath the dirt.”

Feldman’s murder captured headlines in Germany, which become known as the “Susanna Case” and fueled debate over immigrant crime.

Jump in Violent Crime

Public outcry over the crime prompted politicians to call for faster deportation of asylum-seekers who had committed crimes from Germany.

While overall crime in Germany has fallen to the lowest level since 1992, there has been an increase in violent crime committed by male immigrants between the ages of 14 and 30.

A German government-sponsored report from January 2018 showed that violent crime increased 10 percent between 2015 and 2016 in the German state of Lower Saxony. The study attributed 90 percent of the increase in violent crime to young male asylum-seekers.

The study also found that asylum-seekers arriving from war-torn regions were more likely to avoid trouble and that certain groups of immigrants, such as those from North Africa, tended to commit more crimes.

Around 17 percent of violent crimes in Lower Saxony that were attributed to refugees, for example, were suspected of being committed by North African asylum seekers. These make up less than 1 percent of the state’s registered refugee population and have relatively slim chances of obtaining legal status in Germany.

Bashar first arrived in Germany in 2015 along with his parents and five siblings, according to the Daily Mail.

He faced deportation after his request for asylum was rejected in December 2016, but he obtained a temporary residence permit pending his appeal.

Bashar had reportedly been known to police, including for fights, alleged robbery, and possession of an illegal switchblade.

In his upcoming trial, Bashar also faces charges for a park robbery in which he allegedly beat, strangled, and threatened a man with a knife to steal his watch, bag, phone, and bank card.

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