by WorldTribune Staff, December 6, 2016
The arrest of a 17-year-old Afghan refugee for the rape and murder of a 19-year-old student in Freiburg has enraged Germans critical of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door refugee policy.
The murder of medical student Maria Ladenburger also reignited criticism of the German media for their reluctance to cover the story and of German officials who, critics say, seemed more concerned over backlash against Muslims than the gruesome murder of one of their citizens.
Ladenburger, the daughter of a senior EU official who volunteered at a refugee center in her spare time, was raped and allegedly drowned on the night of October 16. Her body was found the next morning by locals on the bank of the Dreisam River in Freiburg.
ARD, the public television station, drew criticism for not featuring the arrest of the Afghan suspect in its evening news bulletin the day it was announced. The broadcaster said in a blog that it hadn’t considered the case to rise above other killings to be “nationally and internationally relevant.”
After an investigation that lasted for more than a month, police arrested the alleged murderer and rapist on Dec. 2.
“The suspect is a minor, 17, from Afghanistan, who came to Germany in 2015,” said Dieter Inhofer, the regional chief prosecutor, at a press conference following the arrest.
Police are now trying to establish if the suspect may also be responsible for the death of another girl.
Officials confirmed that the suspect entered Germany illegally and later filed an asylum request as an unaccompanied minor.
Freiburg Mayor Dieter Salomon called for discretion and urged Germans “not to draw generalized conclusions from the suspect’s origin and regard [the incident] as an isolated one instead,” Die Welt reported.
German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel told Bild the murder should not serve as basis for anti-refugee hatred, saying “we will not allow incitement after such violent crimes, no matter who commits them.”
Joerg Meuthen, a co-leader of the nationalist Alternative for Germany party, said that Merkel and Gabriel bear “a decisive share of the responsibility for this cruel act and many other ‘isolated cases’ that have happened daily in Germany since the unhindered entry of illegal immigrants.”
The German media was blasted for what was seen as its attempt to ignore or downplay the sexual assault of more than 1,200 women by a mob of 2,000 mostly Arab men on New Year’s Eve in Cologne.