Dresden police investigate refugee′s murder | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 15.01.2015
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Dresden police investigate refugee's murder

The police in Dresden have launched an investigation into the murder of a 20-year-old refugee from Eritrea who lived in Dresden. He was found dead with stab wounds to his chest and neck.

Police are still hunting for information about the circumstances and background of the death of Khalid I., the prosecutor for the German state of Saxony, Lorenz Haase said Thursday. Dresden police have stepped up the investigation to determine if racist violence was involved.

The 20-year-old was an asylum-seeker from Eritrea. His neighbors found him dead of multiple stab wounds on Tuesday in the courtyard of the prefabricated high-rise building in Dresden's Leubnitz-Neuostra neighborhood, where he had lived since September.

Dresden Mayor Helma Orosz warned against jumping to conclusions, but the incident was shocking, she added, and raises many questions.

In their first statement, a police spokesman had said that Khalid's death could have been an accident. But the victims' friends and roommates have shared disturbing information on social media platforms, saying how the corpse of the Eritrean refugee was covered in blood with visible injuries.

"They are shocked by the incident, and afraid they could become victims," according to Robert Kusche, head of the Counseling Service for Victims of Hate Crimes (RAA) in Dresden. "They also said that in the past weeks, they repeatedly experienced racist discrimination," he told DW.

Not immune to racist violence

Dresden is the stronghold of the anti-immigrant PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West) protests. This political movement calls for stricter asylum policies for refugees. "In the 1990s, people said: 'Saxons are immune to far-right extremism,'" Kusche said. "That's proven to be false." Saxony has noted "an increase of racist violence over the past two years," Kusche adds.

On Monday, a record of more than 25,000 people marched in Dresden in support of the group. Leaders of the movement deny they are racist and say they distinguish between Islamists and most of Germany's four million Muslims.

According to figures released this week by the Germany's Federal Interior Ministry, 202, 834 people sought asylum in Germany last year, which is a 60 percent increase from 2013.

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