Defendant Ali Bashar waits for the opening of his trial on March 12, 2019 at court in Wiesbaden, Germany. Photo: Boris Roessler | AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Ali Bashar of Duhok province in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq confessed in a German court on Tuesday of killing 14-year-old Susanna Maria Feldman last May.
“I don’t know how it could’ve happened,” Germany's daily Allgemeine Zeitung quoted
Bashar as telling a jury via a translator in Wiesbaden.
Bashar faced charges of murder, insidious acts after the fact, and rape. He denied the rape charge in the court. German prosecutor Achim Thoma has said the cause of death was strangulation.
"Everything just went black," added Bashar, age 22.
The prosecutor argued that Bashar acted alone in the crimes and denied he had had any assistance when he buried Feldman's body in a hole.
Bashar's family previously denied
being complicit in his alleged crimes.
The trial in southwestern Germany city drew a large crowd. The German newspaper reported the court chambers have 56 seats; 44 journalists were accredited, and around 40 people had to be refused entry.
AFP previously reported he arrived in Germany in 2015 with his parents and five siblings. The agency added his asylum request was rejected in December 2016, but he obtained temporary residency pending his appeal.
Copies reporting on alledged acts of violence by migrants are fixed on a 'line of horror' in front of the courthouse in Wiesbaden, Germany on March 12, 2019. Photo: Arne Dedert | AFP
German police began investigating after Feldman’s mother reported her daughter missing from her home in Wiesbaden on May 23, 2018. Her body was found at a nearby railroad track.
Bashar fled Germany back to the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region, where he was working in his home city of Zakho.
Although Iraq and Germany do not have a formal extradition treaty, the 20-year-old was put on a Frankfurt-bound Lufthansa flight at Erbil International Airport in June.
Sentencing was not announced. Germany does not have capital punishment. The Kurdistan Region officially has the death penalty, but it is rarely implemented.
"I do not want to see this monster in a German prison, but rather forcefully deported! The family of Susanna continues to have much fortitude," tweeted "Jan" in German.
Immigration and asylum have become highly politicized issues in Germany over the past two years.
In Germany, asylum seeking peaked at 890,000 in 2015. It dropped to 280,000 in 2016, and 186,644 in 2017 — due in part to a deal between the European Union and Turkey for the latter to provide shelter to refugees in exchange for billions of euros.