BERLIN - German prosecutors Wednesday announced child rape and murder charges against a rejected Iraqi asylum-seeker in a case that fueled a heated debate about immigrant crime.
The accused in the “Susanna case,” 21-year-old Ali Bashar, had fled Germany after the crime for northern Iraq but was extradited in a mission joined personally by federal police chief Dieter Romann.
Bashar is accused of beating, raping and then strangling schoolgirl Susanna Maria Feldman, 14, in a wooded area near his refugee shelter in the city of Wiesbaden last May 23.
Earlier he had also allegedly twice raped an 11-year-old girl — once in April 2018 after locking her in his room, and again near a supermarket parking area the following month.
Prosecutors also laid charges against an Afghan youth who was living in the same refugee shelter, Mansoor Q., who was believed to be aged at least 14 at the time, for also raping the 11-year-old girl.
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.
Following a public outcry over Susanna’s death, German federal police hauled Bashar back from Arbil, northern Iraq, where he had been arrested by local Kurdish security forces.
Despite the absence of a formal extradition treaty between Iraq and Germany, Bashar was put on a flight to Germany, with pictures of him disembarking under heavy police guard making front pages.
Bashar had first arrived in Germany in 2015 along with his parents and five siblings.
He faced deportation after his request for asylum was rejected in December 2016, but he obtained a temporary residence permit pending his appeal.
During this time, he got into trouble with police on several occasions, including for fights, alleged robbery and possession of an illegal switchblade.
In his upcoming trial he also faces charges for a park robbery in which he beat, strangled and threatened with a knife a man to steal his watch, bag, phone and bank card.
The Susanna case prompted politicians including Chancellor Angela Merkel to urge the speeding up of deportations of asylum-seekers who have broken the law in Germany.