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Iraqi confesses to murdering teenage girl in Germany

Photo fournie le 7 juin 2018 par la police de Wiesbaden de l'Irakien Ali Bashar, 20 ans, soupçonné du viol et du meurtre d'une adolescente en Allemagne
Handout (Polizei Wiesbaden/AFP)

An Iraqi national suspected of murdering a Jewish teenage girl in Germany has confessed to the crime, but insisted the motive was not anti-Semitic.

Tariq Ahmad, police chief for the Kurdish-controlled province Dohuk in Iraq, told AFP news agency that 20-year-old Ali Bashar admitted to strangling 14-year-old Susanna Feldmann to death before fleeing the country to his homeland.

"He said that the two of them were friends but that they had a dispute, and that he killed her when the girl threatened to call the police," Ahmad said.

Bashar, a failed asylum seeker who arrived to Germany in 2015 with his parents and five siblings, was arrested Friday morning on the request of German authorities and is expected to land Saturday evening in Germany, where he will be taken into custody.

Feldman was missing for a week before her body was found in the German city of Wiesbaden, near the refugee shelter where Bashar lived with his family. An autopsy showed that she was raped before being strangled to death.

Several vigils were held on Saturday in cities across Germany, especially in Feldmann’s hometown of Mainz, near Frankfurt.

Boris Roessler (dpa/AFP)

Protesters also took to the streets of Mainz to protest Chancellor Angela Merkel’s refugee policy, with the encouragement of the far-right populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Feldmann is “a further victim of Angela Merkel's hypocritical and egotistical open-door policies to refugees,” said party leader Alice Weidel in a YouTube video published Thursday. Other protesters in Mainz staged a counter-rally against racism.

German authorities now face intense scrutiny over the delays in deporting rejected asylum seekers and over how the entire family managed to leave the country with documents issued under an alias. They fled to Iraq last weekend via Turkey.

Bashar’s asylum application was rejected in 2016, but was allowed to stay in Germany while his appeal was being reviewed. Critics say such often slow-moving appeals may be exploited by failed applicants and hinder the state’s ability to implement its decisions to deport.

“It takes a long time for the judgment [on whether asylum is granted] and then appeals -- two years, if I'm not mistaken, in this case,” Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Friday, before a discussion on establishing centralized refugee processing facilities. “I'm for the rule of law and order, but we can't impinge on the ability of the state to take action.”

Polina Garaev is Germany correspondent for i24NEWS.

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