The rape and murder of a 14-year-old Jewish girl by a failed Iraqi asylum seeker has cast a renewed spotlight on Germany's migrant rape crisis, which has continued unabated for years amid official complicity and public apathy.
Thousands of women and children have been raped or sexually assaulted in Germany since Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed into the country more than one million mostly male migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
The latest crime, entirely preventable, is uniquely reprehensible in that it highlights in one act the many insidious consequences of Germany's open-door migration policy — including the failure to vet those allowed into the country and the practice of releasing migrant criminals back onto German streets instead of incarcerating or deporting them.
The crime also exposes the gross negligence of Germany's political class, which appears to be more concerned with preserving multiculturalism and the rights of predatory migrants than protecting German women and children from them.
Police say that Ali Bashar, a 20-year-old Iraqi Kurd, raped Susanna Maria Feldman, strangled her and then dumped her body in a wooded area alongside railroad tracks on the outskirts of Wiesbaden. Bashar then fled to Iraq on false identity papers.
Feldman had been missing from her home in Mainz since May 22. Her mother filed a missing person report on May 23. Police, however, did not even begin to search for the girl until more than a week later, when an unnamed 13-year-old boy, a migrant living in the same refugee shelter as Bashar, contacted the police. Feldman's body was finally recovered on June 6.
Bashar arrived in Germany in October 2015, at the height of the migrant influx, along with his parents and five siblings; claiming to be refugees, they turned out to be economic migrants. Bashar's asylum request was rejected in December 2016. He should have been deported, but after he filed an appeal, German authorities allowed him to stay.
During his three years in Germany, Bashar chalked up an extensive criminal record, including physical assault of law enforcement officers, violent robbery at knifepoint and possession of illegal weapons.
Police said that Bashar was also a suspect in the March 2018 rape of an 11-year-old girl living in the same refugee shelter where he and his family were staying.
Bashar was able to flee Germany under a false identity because of bureaucratic incompetence: federal border police failed to check if the name on his plane ticket matched the name on his identity papers.
Bashar was arrested in northern Iraq on June 8 and was extradited to Germany a day later. He is currently being held at a correctional facility in Wiesbaden.
Susanna's murder was the fourth German teenager to be murdered by illegal migrants during the past 18 months.
October 16, 2016. Maria Ladenburger, a 19-year-old medical student from Freiburg, was raped and murdered after returning home from a party hosted by her school's medical faculty. Her attacker was Hussein Khavari, who entered Germany in November 2015 without identification papers. He claimed to have been born in Afghanistan in November 1999. Because of his alleged age (16), he was granted asylum as an underage unaccompanied migrant and placed with a foster family.
After Khavari was arrested as a suspect in the Ladenburger case, the newsmagazine Stern reported that in February 2014, Khavari had been sentenced to ten years in prison for attempted murder for pushing a 20-year-old woman over a cliff on the Greek island of Corfu. The woman survived the attack and Khavari was released after serving 18 months in prison, based on an amnesty for juvenile offenders. He then migrated to Germany.
During his trial in Greece, Khavari told the court that he had been born in Iran in January 1996 and had arrived in Europe in January 2013.
During his trial in Germany, Khavari confessed to raping and killing Ladenburger. It emerged that Khavari was born in Iran on January 29, 1984 and that at the time he killed Ladenburger, he was actually 32. On March 22, 2018, Khavari was sentenced to life in prison for rape and murder, but according to German law, he may apply for parole after serving 15 years.
December 27, 2017. Mia Valentin, a 15-year-old girl from Kandel, a small town in the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, near the German border with France, was stabbed to death at a local drugstore. Her attacker was Abdul Mobin, a failed Afghan asylum seeker who claimed to be 15 years old.
Valentin and her attacker had been in a relationship for several months, but after she ended it in early December 2017, Mobin began to threaten her. On December 15, the girl's parents filed a formal complaint to police. Police visited Mobin on December 17, and again on the morning of December 27. Later that day, Mobin followed Valentin into the drugstore and stabbed her with a kitchen knife he had purchased at the same store. The girl died a short time later.
Mobin had arrived in Germany in April 2016 and initially resided at a refugee shelter in Frankfurt. He was later transferred to a refugee shelter in Germersheim, a small town in the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, and then to a youth facility in nearby Neustadt. His asylum claim was rejected in February 2017, but he was not deported. Mobin, who was known to police after he punched a student at Valentin's school, is being held in custody while German authorities try to determine his true age.
March 12, 2018. Mireille Bold, a 17-year-old girl from Flensburg, was stabbed to death by Ahmad Gulbhar, an 18-year-old asylum seeker from Afghanistan. He allegedly became enraged and killed her after she refused to wear a headscarf convert to Islam. Gulbhar had arrived in Germany in 2015 as an underage unaccompanied migrant. His asylum application was rejected but he was never deported.
Bold, who lived in the same building as her attacker, had called police for help at least once before she was killed. A good friend of Bold's family told the newspaper Bild:
"Ahmad was a jealous rooster who always wanted to control her. They have been in a relationship since January 2016, but there were constant rows. He insisted that she convert to Islam and always wear a headscarf.
"She wasn't sure. Whenever she went scarfless there was trouble. Mireille told me that he fled alone from Afghanistan and had a great longing for his family. He was supposed to have a job in a civil engineering company. Once when she met with him he called her every two minutes on her phone demanding to know what was happening."
The attacker is being held in pre-trial detention.
As with the deaths of the other teenagers, Susanna's murder prompted the usual barrage of political posturing and feigned outrages from German politicians and media.
The level of public outrage over Susanna's case, however, suggests that Germany may be reaching a tipping point: the German government is finally being held to account for its role in the migrant rape crisis.
"The government should beg for forgiveness from Susanna's parents," said the mass circulation Bild. "The only thing that is worse than the murder of a child is the murder of a child by a criminal who should not have been in our country."
The leader of the Free Democrats (FDP), Christian Lindner, said that the crime raises many questions: "Why are rejected asylum seekers not deported more consistently? Why could the perpetrator and his family flee under a false identity?"
"This is typical of our German security agencies," FDP politician Alexander Graf Lambsdorff said. "There are simply too many gaps in this system. This has been terribly upsetting for many years."
SPD manager Carsten Schneider said what had to be quickly clarified was "how the suspect was able to escape, and how he can be brought to court in Germany as quickly as possible."
"The Federal Interior Minister must ensure that the existing control mechanisms are also used during entry and exit," said Burkhard Lischka, an SPD spokesman. "With such questionable papers and in view of the destination, the Federal Police could have determined with a simple fingerprint comparison that a criminal is on the run."
"The cruel murder of Susanna fills me with great sadness and anger," said Eckhardt Rehberg of the CDU. "As a politician responsible for the budget, I say...the entire asylum process needs to be fundamentally reshaped. We will provide the money for that."
The Alternative for Germany (AfD), the anti-immigration party, called for the resignation of the entire federal government. In a video posted on Twitter, AfD co-leader Alice Weidel said:
"Susanna is dead. Maria from Freiburg; Mia from Kandel; Mireille from Flensburg; and now Susanna from Mainz....
"Susanna's death is not a blind stroke of fate. Susanna's death is the result of many years of organized irresponsibility and the scandalous failure of our asylum and immigration policies. Susanna is victim of an out-of-control leftwing multicultural ideology that stops at nothing to impose its sense of moral superiority. Susanna is also another victim of Chancellor Angela Merkel's hypocritical and selfish welcome policy.
"Legally, Ali Bashar should never have been allowed into Germany. His asylum request was rejected more than two years ago, and he should have been deported. Bashar was known to police for physical assault, attacking police officers, and possessing illegal weapons. In March 2018, he was suspected of raping an 11-year-old girl at a refugee shelter. According to the law, Bashar should have had to leave Germany a long time ago or be arrested.
"An absurd asylum law and a grotesque asylum policy...it is lenient toward asylum cheaters and criminals but ignores the genuine concerns of German citizens.
"Ali Bashar, his parents and five siblings lived here on the taxpayer's dime, they could not be deported, but after his Ali's crime, they somehow found the money to flee Germany on falsified documents. No problem in a Germany with open borders.
"On the day of Susanna's murder, you [Merkel] testified in parliament that you have handled the migrant crisis responsibly. Do you dare to repeat that claim to Susanna's parents? Well, no. Your hard-heartedness and self-righteousness means you feel you are above offering the victims of your policies a personal word. This is unacceptable to us citizens. Will you finally accept responsibility, Mrs. Merkel? You and your entire cabinet should resign to make possible another asylum policy so that the parents in this country no longer need to fear for the safety of their children."
The newsmagazine Stern concluded:
"The emotional reactions to Susanna's case illustrate how Germany has changed. Already in the summer of the refugee crisis, when hundreds of thousands of people came into the country, there were warnings that the mood in the population could tip....
"The case of Susanna awakens the image of a loss of control, an overstretched state that no longer has a grip on asylum policy — especially in a society that loves law and order. There are now repeated demands for stricter laws. The current scandal over maladministration at the Federal Office of Migration and Refugees [immigration officials accepted cash bribes in exchange for granting asylum to more than 1,200 migrants] seems to emphasize the impression of a failure of the state."