A rejected Iraqi asylum seeker in Germany has been sentenced to life in prison for the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl.
A Wiesbaden court found Ali Bashar guilty and on Wednesday sentenced him to life behind bars.
The possibility of release after 15 years, as is common in Germany, will most likely be ruled out due to a ‘particular severity of guilt’, the Bild newspaper reported.
The four-month case sparked a nationwide debate on Germany’s refugee policy, and led to anti-migrant protests across the country.
A rejected Iraqi asylum seeker in Germany has been sentenced to life in prison for the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl (Pictured: Ali Bashar covers his face as he enters the courtroom in Wiesbaden on Wednesday, July 10)
A Wiesbaden court found Ali Bashar (pictured) guilty of the murder of Susanna Feldman and on Wednesday sentenced him to life behind bars
Susanna Maria Feldman, 14, from Mainz was missing for over 10 days sparking a widespread search operation in May last year
Bashar beat, raped and strangled Ms Feldman, from Mainz, to death in a wooded area near his refugee shelter over a year ago.
Her body was then buried in a shallow grave covered with leaves, twigs and soil, near railway tracks.
She was missing for over 10 days sparking a widespread search operation in May last year.
Her remains were found by authorities two weeks later on June 6, 2018, following a tip-off.
By that point, Bashar and his family had left Germany for Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq.
However, he was arrested by Kurdish security forces and, despite the absence of a formal extradition treaty between Baghdad and Berlin, taken back to Germany.
Bashar’s conviction signals the end of the four-month trial that ignited a heated debate on the nation’s refugee policy.
Bashar is believed to have arrived in Germany in October 2015, during the global migrant crisis.
Angela Merkel’s government introduced an ‘open door’ refugee policy that year, which was abandoned three years later.
Bashar’s request for asylum was rejected in December 2016, but despite this he obtained a temporary residence permit pending his appeal.
Merkel later conceded in a TV interview that ‘the case shows how important it is that people who don’t have residency rights quickly face a court and can be speedily sent back home’.
Bashar’s conviction signals the end of the four-month trial that ignited a heated debate on the nation’s refugee policy
Bashar also faces charges for a park robbery in which he allegedly beat, strangled and threatened a man with a knife to steal his watch, bag, phone and bank card
Bashar also faces charges for a park robbery in which he allegedly beat, strangled and threatened a man with a knife to steal his watch, bag, phone and bank card.
He faces a separate trial from March 19, accused of having twice raped an 11-year-old girl – once in April 2018 after locking her in his room, and again near a supermarket carpark the following month.
To Germany’s far right, Bashar has become a symbol of the threat allegedly posed by a wave of mostly Middle Eastern newcomers.
Before the trial, the anti-Islam Alternative for Germany (AfD) party again blamed Chancellor Angela Merkel’s grand coalition or ‘GroKo’ government for Ms Feldman’s death.
‘The problem isn’t “the right” but the knife-man immigration caused by the GroKo that has caused ever more bloody crimes,’ the party wrote in a Facebook post.
The AfD became the biggest opposition party when it entered parliament in 2017, riding a wave of public anger over sexual assaults and other violent crimes committed by some recent migrants.
In another case last year, the fatal stabbing of a German man in the eastern city of Chemnitz, allegedly by immigrants, sparked outbursts of mob violence in which far-right extremists hunted people of foreign appearance through the streets.
Police escort Bashar to a helicopter for transportation back to prison after a hearing at the court in Wiesbaden in June last year