Suspect in German rape-murder arrested in Iraq: Berlin

Suspect in German rape-murder arrested in Iraq: Berlin

BERLIN – Agence France-Presse
Suspect in German rape-murder arrested in Iraq: Berlin

An Iraqi failed asylum seeker wanted over the rape and murder of a teenage girl in Germany has been arrested in Iraq, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said on June 8.

Ali Bashar, 20, who is believed to have strangled Susanna Maria Feldman, 14, after sexually assaulting her, was "arrested by Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq at the request of German federal police", said Seehofer.

German officials on June 7 said an Iraqi man suspected of raping and killing a 14-year-old girl had likely fled the country and returned to Iraq, in a case that has fuelled concerns about slow deportations of failed asylum seekers, as another suspect, a Turk, was released after “new evidence” emerged that exonerated him.

The victim, Susanna Feldman, was Jewish, although the Central Council of Jews in Germany cautioned against attributing an anti-Semitic motive to the crime.

The suspected involvement of a failed asylum seeker could add to a backlash against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to open the doors to over a million migrants in 2015.

The teenager was reported missing on May 22 and found dead on June 6 in a wooded area near train tracks, according to police.

Police had said they were looking for Bashar, who they believe fled to Arbil, Iraq, with his family days ago.

They said he had been denied asylum but had not been deported.

Police said they detained a second suspect, a 35-year-old Turkish citizen who was not named, but released him late on June 7 after “new evidence” emerged that exonerated him. 

Politicians from across the political spectrum called for a comprehensive investigation, and how it was possible for the Iraqi man to flee Germany with his parents and siblings under what police said were false names.