A verdict is expected on Thursday in the trial at Freiburg Regional Court. The defendant must expect a harsh sentence.
The defendant Hussein K. in front of the Freiburg Regional Court Photo: dpa
After half a year, the trial against Hussein K. is expected to end on Thursday. The queue of visitors in front of the Freiburg Regional Court has become shorter and shorter during this time. The AfD has already rolled up its banners after the first day of the trial. And even those in the audience who would prefer to make short work of such cases are apparently soon tired of patiently listening to the experts’ age assessments and the testimonies of the witnesses, some of whom have traveled from Greece.
The murder case has moved Freiburg and the republic. In October 2016, the body of Maria L. was found in the Dreisam River. The young woman was abused and strangled during the night, in the end she drowned unconscious in the river. Nine weeks later, the police arrested Hussein K. as the alleged perpetrator, an allegedly underage refugee from Afghanistan.
In addition to a just punishment, such a trial, which was conducted prudently by all parties, can achieve something else: to objectify the angry mood again with facts and clarification. The Freiburg juvenile criminal court under the young chairwoman Kathrin Schenk spared no effort to refute the lies and half-truths of the perpetrator Hussein K., who after all confessed. His cell phone data were elaborately read out in order to draw a meticulous movement picture of the night of the crime. With the help of a tooth extracted from Hussein K., it was possible to prove that he was between years old and not 17, as K. had always claimed. Hussein K. will therefore be sentenced under adult criminal law.
"There is a criminal in the dock here, not refugee policy," Chief Public Prosecutor Eckart Berger clarified, referring to public opinion. That’s true, and it’s not true again. Because every murder trial is also a projection surface for the public. The public defender of Hussein K., Sebastian Glathe, said that.
Of course, the act of a refugee on the student Maria L. has a political dimension. Like the New Year’s Eve in Cologne and the Breitscheidtplatz attack, it has changed the culture of welcome. There are also findings from investigations and the trial that demand reactions from politicians. was made all too easy to conceal his age and origin during questioning by authorities.
The systems were not designed for deliberate deception, said several employees of the authorities during the trial. In addition, the Freiburg case also shows how rules for accommodating young refugees were disregarded in 2015 due to sloppiness and excessive demands. And apparently some people in the social institutions also took advantage of the influx of refugees to overcharge the state for care costs. The Freiburg public prosecutor’s office is currently investigating fraud against employees of the "Wiese" social welfare agency, who were responsible for the care of Hussein K..
Already in 2013, Hussein K. attacked a young woman on Corfu
The court spent some effort to reconstruct the first known act of violence committed by Hussein K. on Corfu. In 2013, he attacked a young woman and threw her down a ten-meter cliff. The fact that Hussein K. The Greek authorities are responsible for the fact that Maria L. was released early despite a conviction in Greece, and that the German authorities were unaware of who had come to Germany as a minor supposedly traveling alone.
But the psychological report leaves no doubt that no one other than the defendant himself is responsible for Maria L.’s death. Witness statements, pictures from surveillance cameras and reconstructions at the crime scene prove that the attack on Maria L. was sexually motivated from the beginning and not a spontaneous act, as he had claimed in his confession. Both acts paint the picture of an apparently cold-hearted perpetrator who is fully capable of guilt and knew how to skillfully manipulate his environment. Even in his closing statement, K. cannot shake this picture.
Bernhard Kramer, the representative of the Nebenklage, made it clear once again in his plea that Maria L.’s family, whom he represents, was "not driven by revenge or hatred." They wanted to know how it really was, Kramer said. Above all, they wanted "that the same thing as happened to their daughter should not happen to other people." Like the prosecutor, he is calling for a murder conviction, a finding of special gravity of guilt that makes early release impossible, and then for Hussein K. to be held in preventive detention.