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Germany

German Youths Jailed for Attack on German-Ethiopian Boy

The perpetrators of a gruesome, racially-motivated attack on a German-Ethiopian boy were handed prison sentences of up to three and a half years at the conclusion of a trial held behind closed doors.

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Four German youths were sentenced to up to three and half years in jail on Monday for beating and humiliating a 12-year-old boy who has a German mother and Ethiopian father.

The court in Schönebeck in eastern Germany found that the four attackers, aged 16 to 20, had acted out of racist motives when they attacked the boy in early January.

They beat him, urinated on him, burned his face with a cigarette and forced him at gun-point to lick their boots in the attack, which took place on Jan. 9 in the village of Pömmelte, near Magdeburg in eastern Germany.

A dreadful attack

Eine Frau laeft am Montag, 10. Januar 2005, in der Abendsonne an einem mit Nazi-Parolen beschmierten jüdischen Gedenkstein auf einem Friedhof in Dortmund vorbei.

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The 12 year-old boy was forced to answer all questions with "Yes, my führer!" while the attackers partially filmed the event with a cell phone camera.

"They humiliated and mortified their victim solely because of the color of his skin," Judge Peggy Bos said.

The victim suffered 34 injuries including a brain concussion and fracture of the nasal bone.

Behind closed doors

The judge sentenced the 20-year old leader of the gang, Francesco L., to three and half years in jail. The trial took place behind closed doors because the other three attackers are minors.

Justitia - Göttin der Gerechtigkeit Symbolfoto

Justice was served, but the victim has still not recovered fully

The 16-year-old Morton D. was sentenced to two years in jail, which can be converted to a suspended sentence after six months.

The other two attackers -- sixteen-year old twins Kevin and Steven W -- were sentenced to a year and seven months of probation. In their case, no "close connection to the right-extremist scene" could be established.

The young men were sentenced for assault, grievous bodily harm, deprivation of liberty and coercion.

Racism on the rise in Germany ?

The victim, who suffered tremendously after the attack, is no longer living in Pömmelte. He is still afraid and, according to his own testimony, troubled by nightmares.

"We can only hope that the victim will also recover from his heavy psychological injuries," the judge said.

The incident forms part of a recent spate of racist attacks that have sparked a debate about xenophobia in the country, notably in the former communist East. In April, an engineer of Ethiopian origin was beaten into a coma outside Berlin and over the weekend a politician of Turkish origin was attacked by men who called him a "dirty foreigner."

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