German girl ′enslaved′ in Bosnia freed after eight years | News | DW | 27.05.2012
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German girl 'enslaved' in Bosnia freed after eight years

A German girl who was allegedly enslaved for eight years in Bosnia has been rescued. Prosecutors say a Bosnian couple had subjected her to inhumane treatment and torture.

Bosnian authorities say they have freed a German girl who had allegedly been enslaved and abused by a couple for a period of eight years.

A spokesman for the prosecutor's office in Tuzla told the Reuters news agency that a married couple in their 40s and 50s had been arrested and were being held while police continued their inquiries.

The young woman, who is now 19 years old, had been brought to safety.

Police arrested the couple and freed the German woman, who has not been named after a tip from a neighbor in a hamlet near the north-western town of Kalesija.

"They kept her locked up, neither allowing her contact with other people, nor to go to school," police spokesman Admir Arnautovic told public television station Federation TV. "They subjected her to inhumane treatment and torture."

The neighbour who tipped off police described some of the alleged abuse he claimed to have seen.

"They put her in place of the horse and were laughing," Sead Makalic said, describing a scene in which the two suspects allegedly forced her to pull the cart they were riding on.

He said the couple who have been detained were from a Roma family in which several brothers lived together, and made frequent trips to to Germany and Austria.

Makalic also said this wasn't the first time he had alerted the authorities.

"But when the police came they hid her very well," he said. But "when I saw her again on May 15, I took a picture of her with my mobile telephone and went to alert the police", Makalic said. "I could not watch them beat and starve her anymore."

Media reports said the girl had come to Bosnia with her German mother in 2004. The mother, who still lives in the hamlet of Karavlasi, was once married to the male suspect.

pfd/msh (Reuters, AFP)