The trial of Ali B., accused of raping and killing a teenage girl, has commenced under tight security. The defendant has confessed to the murder but has denied the rape charge.
A 22-year-old man confessed to strangling a teenage girl to death at the opening of his murder trial on Tuesday in the western German city of Wiesbaden, but denied that he had raped her beforehand.
The defendant, an Iraqi asylum seeker identified as Ali B., told the court that he killed the 14-year-old schoolgirl Susanna F. in May 2018.
"Everything went black and then it happened," Ali B. said through an interpreter. "I don't know how it could have happened."
Ali B., who fled from Iraq with his family in 2015, also apologized to the parents of Susanna F., saying he knew that his "apology can't make anything right again."
In his confession, Ali B. insisted that he and Susanna F. had consensual sex before she was killed.
Prosecutors allege that the man forced the girl to have sex with him and then killed her after she threatened to go to the police. Afterward, according to prosecutors, he and an unknown accomplice buried her body before he allegedly used her phone to text her mother that she was in Paris.
When her remains were found two weeks later, Ali B. and his family had left Germany for Iraq. He was then arrested by Kurdish security forces and was taken back to Germany despite the absence of a formal extradition treaty between Baghdad and Berlin.
The case has ignited the immigration debate in Germany, with the nation's far right using Ali B. as a symbol of a threat allegedly posed by asylum seekers from the Middle East.
Several dozen protesters demonstrated outside the courthouse in the city of Wiesbaden, where the crime took place, displaying a sign reading "No Leniency for Muslims."
A verdict in the trial is not expected until May. Ali B. faces life imprisonment if found guilty and could be deported back to Iraq, though he will likely serve half of a prison sentence in Germany. He also faces a separate trial from March 19 where he has been charged with twice raping an 11-year-old girl.
dv/rc (AFP, dpa)
Editor's note: Deutsche Welle follows the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and obliges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.