World

Asylum seeker admits to killing teen girl in Germany

A rejected Iraqi asylum-seeker admitted killing a 14-year-old local girl, as he went on trial in Germany Tuesday in a case that fuelled tensions over migration. He denied raping her.

Susanna Feldmann's death led to protests and counterprotests

Ali Bashar covers his face as he arrives at a court in Wiesbaden on Tuesday. The rejected Iraqi asylum-seeker is accused of murdering Susanna Feldmann, a German-born teen, in a case that has fuelled tensions over migrants. (Boris Roessler/dpa via AP)

A rejected Iraqi asylum-seeker admitted killing a 14-year-old local girl as he went on trial in Germany Tuesday, in a case that fuelled tensions over migration. He denied raping her.

Ali Bashar, 22, is accused of assaulting and murdering Susanna Feldmann in the western city of Wiesbaden in May 2018.

Bashar and his family abruptly left a home for asylum applicants after the killing, but German officials were able to convince those in a Kurdish region of Iraq to return Bashar to face justice, despite the lack of an extradition agreement.

The defendant admitted to the Wiesbaden state court as his trial opened that he killed the girl, news agency dpa reported.

"I don't know how this could happen," he said through an interpreter. He said that they had had consensual sex before the killing.

Messages of mourning, candles and flowers are shown in June 2018 for Susanna Feldmann, the teen who had been killed the previous month. (Armando Babani/EPA-EFE)

Bashar said he had met the girl through a mutual acquaintance about three months previously, that they had often spent time together and he hadn't known how old she was.

There are no formal pleas in the German legal system. The trial is scheduled to last at least until early May.

Bashar is believed to have arrived in Germany in October 2015, at the height of the migrant influx to the country, and was appealing the rejection of his asylum application at the time of the killing.

After Feldmann's killing, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) used her image prominently in organized protests against widespread immigration.