Iraqi officials have agreed to extradite a 20-year old Iraqi man who is suspected of raping and killing a 14-year-old girl in Germany last month.
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced on Saturday that “the alleged perpetrator wanted by German authorities is back in Germany,” and he also said that investigation into the case could now pick up speed.
“For the girl’s family, that is only a small consolation, and my thoughts are with them during these difficult hours,” said Seehofer. “But for the state and our society, it is important that crimes are cleared up and suspects are brought to justice.”
It’s worth noting that Horst Seehofer is a longstanding critic of Angela Merkel’s lax immigration policies. He has also drawn attention, good and bad, for saying that he believes that Islam “does not belong” in Germany. Seehofer has been vocal about his desire to curb migration, and he has promised to swiftly deport those who enter Germany illegally.
Iraqi police in the Kurdistan region said on Satuday that the suspect had admitted to the murder of 14 year old Susanna Feldman in Germany. The case there has reignited the debate over Chancellor Merkel’s immigration policies.
German police found Susanna Feldman, a Jewish teenager from Mainz, in a wooded area of Wiesbaden. She had been missing since the evening of May 22nd.
Her body was found near a refugee center where the alleged attacker had lived, and an autopsy showed that she had been the victim of a violent sexual attack. She was strangled to death, and buried in a shallow grave near a railroad track.
Her attacker, Ali Bashar, fled back to Iraq on June 2nd with his family, using a plane ticket which didn’t match the name on his passport. Kurdish security forces arrested him soon afterwards.
Ali Bashar is also a suspect in a number of other crimes. These offenses include a sexual assault on an 11-year-old girl in the refugee camp, as well as a robbery committed with a knife.
Bashar arrived in Germany in 2015 with his parents and five siblings. His asylum request was ultimately refused however, according to local German media reports.
Although Bashar was set to be deported, he managed to obtain temporary residence while waiting for an appeal in his asylum case.
The more conservative portions of German society, including Seerhofer’s Christian Social Union, have expressed outrage over a wave of violent attacks against German women. These attacks are often perpetrated by the young men for whom the German people threw open the doors of their country.
Angela Merkel has made a great gamble. Ultimately, she is betting her political career that the immigrants she has allowed into Germany will integrate properly. If the refugees keep their heads down, contribute a bit to the economy, and avoid too many terrorist attacks or violent rapes, then the German people may not lash out too hard against the woman who introduced them into their society.
And in the long term, Merkel is probably hoping that these immigrants will show a little gratitude and vote for her Christian Democratic Union when they get the chance. (And some reports indicate that Merkel, a preacher’s daughter, was also motivated by her personal beliefs about the importance of Christian charity towards the wretched and dispossessed.)
So far, it’s not going great for Angela.
Her allies in the German government have lost ground to the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany. Her government is now a coalition of several center-right parties and one left leaning group, the Social Democrats. The leftists are tugging her in one direction, and the right-leaning traditionalists like Seehofer are tugging her in the other direction.
Every news story about a violent rape committed by immigrants, every deadly terror attack carried out by a migrant, further damages Merkel’s political standing. In the long term her gamble may pay off.
But for right now, Angela’s in a dangerous position.