BERLIN (AP) — An Afghan migrant was convicted Thursday of raping and murdering a 19-year-old medical student and sentenced to life in prison in Germany, in a case that fueled a debate about Europe’s handling of migration.
The state court in the southwestern city of Freiburg ruled that ruled that the defendant, identified only as Hussein K. in line with German privacy laws, represents enough of a danger he can be kept behind bars past the usual 15 years for a life term in Germany.
During his trial, K. testified that he pulled Maria Ladenburger from her bicycle in October 2016, raped her and dumped her unconscious in a river, where she drowned. He said he had been drinking and smoking drugs at the time, but the court said it found no evidence of any “relevant impairment” of the defendant’s faculties.
“He knew that she was still alive when he dropped her in the Dreisam (river), that she would drown,” presiding judge Kathrin Schenk said.
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K., who was among 890,000 asylum-seekers who entered Germany in 2015, claimed he was 18 at the time of the crime and was originally indicted under juvenile law. An expert report and witness statements put his age at 22, and the court convicted him as an adult.
The case highlighted communication failures among European countries after it emerged that Greece didn’t inform its neighbors that K. was in breach of probation rules following his early release for attempted murder in that country.