Murder of Maria Ladenburger
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Flowers at the river Dreisam where the body was found
|Time||16 October 2016(aged 19)|
|Location||Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Württemberg, Germany|
|Convictions||Murder, aggravated rape|
Maria Ladenburger (6 December 1996 – 16 October 2016), a 19-year-old medical student from Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, was found raped and drowned on 16 October 2016 in the river Dreisam. On 3 December 2016, Freiburg police arrested a suspect who was identified by a hair found at the crime scene and a CCTV recording from inside a tram. DNA evidence linked him to the crime scene.
The suspect had in November 2015 entered Germany as a refugee. It was later found that he had served a prison term for attempting to rob and murder a girl in Greece before migrating to Germany. This created discussion about possible failures in European systems to exchange information about refugees, migrants and any criminal records they have.
Maria Ladenburger was a 19-year-old medical student at the University of Freiburg. On the night of 15–16 October 2016, Ladenburger attended a party hosted by the university medical faculty. She left the party at 2:37 a.m., returning homewards by bike. She was raped on her way near the Schwarzwald-Stadion and died of drowning in the river Dreisam shortly after 3:00 a.m. The accused later claimed to have choked her with a scarf. A jogger found her body later that morning.
Freiburg police formed a special commission consisting of 68 officers, questioned more than 1,400 people and checked more than 1,600 clues. The perpetrator was identified by a long strand of hair from a bleached undercut found in bushes close to the crime scene. A black scarf was also found on the river bed, close to the scene, with traces of the suspect's DNA on it. A suspect was identified on a CCTV recording taped inside a tram in the vicinity on early 17 October based on these findings. The suspect was later identified in the streets from a police patrol based on a still from the CCTV recordings and arrested. Police announced the arrest during a press conference on 3 December.
The chief of Freiburg's Criminal Investigation said "It would be a relief for the parents of the dead" if the accused would talk about the case. Instead, the accused refused to speak as of the end of December 2016.
On 5 January 2017, the police requested the public's help in identifying a potentially critical witness. After photos were published, the witness came forward. The witness was considered "important."
The suspect, identified as Hussein Khavari, entered Germany in November 2015 without identification and claimed to have come from Afghanistan and to have been born in 1999. Because of his age he was granted asylum as an underage unaccompanied refugee and was placed with a foster family. He is believed to belong to the Hazara ethnic group.
Following Khavari's arrest as a suspect for the rape, Stern wrote that in 2014 he had been sentenced to 10 years in prison for robbing a 20-year-old student and throwing her over a cliff in Corfu, Greece during 2013. The victim survived with heavy injuries. This was confirmed by the suspect's Greek lawyer, and by a fingerprint match. Khavari was released after one and half years in prison due to a general amnesty for juvenile offenders initiated by the Greek government. He violated his probation in Greece by not regularly reporting to a police station and migrated to Germany where German authorities did not find out about his earlier conviction because Greece had not initiated an international search via Interpol.
In February 2017, the public prosecutor stated that a medical investigation had revealed that the suspect was not a minor, but was at least 22 years old at the time of the crime. In March 2017, because of "doubts that could not be dismissed" the suspect was not accused in criminal court, where the penalty for murder could be life in prison, but instead, in juvenile court, where the same crime carries only a maximum 10-year sentence.
Trial in Freiburg
At the start of the criminal proceedings at Landgericht Freiburg in September 2017, Khavari confessed the rape and killing of Ladenburger. He also confessed to having lied about his age and that he was older than he had been officially claimed to be. A surveillance video from a Freiburg Tram taken on the day of the crime, which was presented at the trial, shows that the defendant had molested two other women shortly prior to the rape and murder of Ladenburger. According to the testimony of a cellmate of the defendant, Khavari had told him that at the age of 14 years he had raped a 12-year-old girl in Iran. In addition, the witness said that Khavari had told him that he came from Iran, not from Afghanistan, as Khavari had claimed in Germany. According to a forensic dentist witness in court, analysis of a tooth of Khavari, showed that the defendant is 25 years old, and therefore not a juvenile. As the Iranian father of Khavari told the court via phone, there is an official document which states 29 January 1984 as date of birth of the accused.
Psychiatrist Hartmut Pleines said in his report to the court that Hussein K. was neither schizophrenic nor showed any evidence of brain damage or retarded development, but had a low threshold to violence and a tendency to manipulative influence, and that his bad character traits were the cause of his criminal behavior, "not a drug-addiction, nor his place of origin or being a Shia muslim".
Greek policemen, who had been involved in investigating the earlier crime of Hussein K. in Korfu, testified at the court in Freiburg that the suspect was "indifferent" during the interrogation and once had stated, "That's just a woman."
On 22 March 2018, the Landgericht Freiburg convicted Hussein K. of aggravated rape and murder and noted a particular severity of guilt. The judges sentenced him to life imprisonment and ordered Preventive detention. The chamber applied adult criminal law.
On 3 October, Martin Jäger, Secretary of State in the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Interior, sent 25 additional police forces to Freiburg to increase police presence. Politicians had also demanded improved forensic equipment for the Freiburg police for some time. Guido Wolf, Minister of Justice of Baden-Württemberg, called for a change in the code of criminal procedure to allow the police to determine the colour of hair, eyes and skin from a DNA sample. Wolf's desire to change the law triggered a critical response by a group of scholars in an Offener Brief. The scholars argued that the use of forensic DNA phenotyping technology although not being really precise enough may have adverse consequences for the individual, the society and the state of law, and that the ethical, legal and social implications should be discussed before using it. They have also formulated a statement on the three current legislative initiatives to expand the use of DNA analyses in criminal investigations.
The mayor of Freiburg, Dieter Salomon (Green Party), stated that the origin of the perpetrator should not be used for sweeping judgments. Sigmar Gabriel (SPD chairman) expressed his condolences, and also warned of incitement to hatred and said that "refugees can commit the same horrifying crimes as people born in Germany". CDU vice-chairwoman Julia Klöckner stated that "such cruelties are committed by natives and foreigners, this is no new phenomenon. It's not understandable how a human being can be able to do this." Rainer Wendt, head of Deutsche Polizeigewerkschaft (German Police Union) said, "This and many more victims would not be, if our country would have been prepared for the dangers that are connected to mass immigration." Wendt subsequently faced criticism from Oliver Malchow, the chief of the competitor union, Gewerkschaft der Polizei. In addition, AfD chief Jörg Meuthen said, "We are shocked about this crime, and realize at the same time, that our warnings of the uncontrolled immigration of hundreds of thousands of young men from patriarchal Islamic cultures were depreciated as populism."
ARD news magazine Tagesschau did not report the case in its main edition on 3 December, claiming it was of only "regional significance" and that "the special protection for juveniles" would apply in this case. Public broadcaster ZDF had carried the story. Tagesschau's reasons for not reporting it were subjected to criticism, Stern magazine wrote that they had given an "absurd" explanation for their "ignorance". Two days later, ARD magazine Tagesthemen started to report about the case after public pressure. When chancellor Angela Merkel was questioned about the case during the programme, she stated: "If the fact should prove true that an Afghan refugee is responsible, then we should absolutely condemn this, exactly as in the case of any other murderer, and we should clearly name this." ARD announced their intent to engage a "quality manager" henceforth to deal with the growing public criticism of their decisions.
On 15 December 2016, the German Minister for the Interior, Thomas de Maiziere blamed Greece for not releasing an international arrest warrant in the case. Die Zeit reported in 2016 that Greece had announced "that the fingerprints and personal details of the man had been stored in the European Eurodac system since his arrival in Greece in 2013". The report was confirmed by Welt. Furthermore, Deutsche Welle reported that "this data was available to all European security authorities." Several German politicians, among them Boris Palmer (The Greens) and Thomas Strobl (CDU), Minister of the Interior of Baden-Württemberg, demanded better checks on the age of unaccompanied minors in reaction to reports that the perpetrator was probably not underage. Strobl demanded an examination of the bone age (x-ray of the wrist) to clarify the age of alleged minors. Many underage refugees had no papers and statements about their age were often dubious. Strobl also demanded common European criminal records.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Criminal case Maria L..|
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He said he pressed her mouth shut then choked her with a scarf and put her unconscious into the water.
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Hussein K. has a defender - and refuses to talk to the investigators. 'I still hope he will talk to us,' says Egetemaier. 'It would be a relief for the parents of the dead.'
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he grabbed me at the hips and legs, lifted me up and threw me down the cliff.’
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The killing of Ladenburger … had been in the national news for several weeks after her body was found in the Dreisam River in Freiburg on Oct. 18.
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The Greek Civilian Protection and the Justice Department [...] announced that the fingerprints and personal details of the man had been stored in the European Eurodac system since his arrival in Greece in 2013.
- "MORD IN FREIBURG – Tsipras gab Merkel in Berlin wohl ein Versprechen". Welt und N24. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
According to the Greek authorities, the fingerprints and personalities of the suspect Hussein K. have been stored in the Eurodac system since his arrival as a refugee in Greece. "These data were accessible to all European security agencies," the Greek government said.
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Security officials also pointed out that Hussein K.'s fingerprints have been in the Eurodac system since January 8, 2013, when he claimed asylum in Tyros, on Greece's eastern coast. "This data was available to all European security authorities," a Greek official was quoted in the German media as saying.
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asylum seekers are held responsible for the death of German women. Maria, raped and murdered in Freiburg, Mia, stabbed to death in Kandel, Mireille, who died in Flensburg, also by knife wounds.