By Stefan J. Bos
Germany's Wiesbaden state court sentenced 22-year-old Iraqi national Ali Bashar to life in prison following a four-month trial that underscored tensions over migration.
He tried to cover his face, perhaps realizing that the judgment would be severe.
Bashar was found guilty of assaulting and murdering Susanna Feldman in Wiesbaden in 2018. Two weeks went by before any trace was discovered of the murdered girl.
Police discovered Susanna's body near a railway track in a hole covered with dirt and branches after receiving a tip from another migrant who had been living with Bashar.
A judged expressed shock about the attack saying Bashar had shown neither compassion nor remorse.
Severity of guilt
The court ruled there was a "particular severity of guilt," meaning that the Iraqi national won't be released after 15 years as is common in Germany.
The case has prompted a public outcry because Bashar was supposed to have been deported after his application for asylum was rejected.
Instead, he was allowed to stay in Germany, and he then committed the murder. "At the one hand I am happy that he can no longer do such horrific things to another girl and that the judgment was this way," said Susanna's tearful mother, Diana Feldmann.
"But on the other, it will not bring my daughter back," she added.
Bashar is believed to have arrived in Germany in October 2015. The young man and his family quickly left home for asylum applicants in
Germany, following the killing. But he was later extradited from Iraq.
Another trial expected
He also faces another trial — this time on charges of raping an 11-year old girl.
Far right groups have used these and other incidents in anti-migration campaigns.
At least more than 1.6 million people seeking asylum, mainly from Middle Eastern and African countries, entered Germany since 2014, weakening Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives who lost voters to far-right party and groups.
Police statistics show that foreigners committed 38.6 percent of violent crimes in 2018.
But advocates also point out that crime in Germany is also at its lowest since the country's reunification in 1990.