Susanna Maria Feldman was a 14-year-old German girl who disappeared in late May. Her mother received a text from her daughter’s phone in broken German which read, “Don’t look for me. I come in 2 or 3 weeks.” Responding to a tip, police discovered her body in a wooded area not far from a refugee center in Wiesbaden. Susanna had been raped and strangled.
The suspect in the case, 20-year-old Ali Bashar, is an asylum seeker whose claim had been rejected in 2016 but who was still living in Germany while he appealed the decision. After Susanna disappeared, Bashar, his parents, and his five siblings all fled Germany for Iraq under fake names. Last week he was arrested in northern Iraq where he was arrested and apparently confessed to the crime. He was extradited back to Germany for trial. The NY Times reports the story is a media sensation in Germany and once again has people wondering about the wisdom of Angela Merkel’s refugee policy:
On Friday, the case dominated the German news media and became the latest cudgel for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s opponents and, some predicted, a potential turning point in the migration debate in a country where some 10,000 asylum seekers still enter every month…
“If he had been deported, she would still be alive,” read a headline in the country’s largest tabloid, Bild, which devoted two pages to the case.
He came to the attention of the police several times, involving allegations of jostling a police officer, robbing a passer-by and carrying a knife…
Rainer Wendt, head of one of Germany’s biggest police unions, said the murder was emblematic of something larger.
“People feel that the state has lost control,” Mr. Wendt said. “There are thousands of people in the country and we don’t know who they are. That is an enormous security risk.”
Merkel is still defending her “humanitarian response” which let more than a million refugees enter the country in 2015. But the NY Times notes that this isn’t the first time a German citizen has been murdered by an asylum seeker since then:
Susanna was not the first German teenager to be murdered by an asylum seeker in recent years. In March, an Afghan man was sentenced to life in prison for raping and murdering a university student. In January, a 17-year-old high school student was stabbed to death by another Afghan teenager.
There was also the attack on a Berlin Christmas market by a man driving a truck. He was also a rejected asylum seeker who hadn’t been deported yet. Then there was the mass sexual assault which took place on New Year’s Eve in Cologne and other cities. The number of women attacked that night by refugees eventually totaled 1,200.
Finally, all of this happens at the same time that a separate cash-for-asylum scandal has been developing in Germany. From the Local:
The scandal centres around the Federal Office for Immigration and Refugees, which goes by the acronym BAMF.
The BAMF office in Bremen is accused of wrongfully granting asylum to over a thousand refugees between 2013 and 2016 who had their applications dismissed in other federal states.
Prosecutors in Bremen are currently investigating the former head of the Bremen office, Ulrike B., and various employees on suspicion that they took bribes in exchange for granting favourable decisions.
The former head of BAMF has claimed that he warned Chancellor Merkel about irregularities in the system a year ago:
The former head of BAMF, Frank-Juergen Weise, added fuel to the political fire when he accused Merkel of knowing about wider problems at the agency since at least last year and neglecting to deal with them.
“The failure lies in the inaction (of the government) when the challenges that Germany would face with the arrival of the refugees became clear,” Weise told news weekly Der Spiegel.
“The crisis could have been prevented,” added Weise, who said he personally informed Merkel on two occasions of irregularities in 2017 without concrete action being taken.
Merkel won re-election last year but it took her six months to form a coalition government. The murder of Susanna Feldman, on top of the BAMF scandal, could be the last straw for Merkel.