June 10, 2018 / 12:48 PM / 4 months ago

Merkel's conservatives eye tougher asylum rules after murder case

BERLIN (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives called on Sunday for stricter immigration rules and faster deportation of failed asylum seekers after a public outcry over a 14-year old German girl who was allegedly raped and killed by an Iraqi man.

Twenty-year-old Iraqi Ali B. is escorted by special police upon his arrival in Wiesbaden, Germany, June 9, 2018, after his arrest by police in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, admitting to the rape and murder of Susanna F., a 14-year-old German girl. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

Police in the Kurdistan region of Iraq said on Saturday the 20-year-old suspect, identified by German authorities as Ali Bashar, had admitted to the murder of Susanna Feldman in Germany, where the case has stoked the immigration debate.

Iraqi authorities extradited Bashar on Saturday after Kurdish security forces had taken him into custody on Friday. He left Germany together with relatives earlier this month.

“The procedures and rules for asylum, refuge and integration must be put under scrutiny,” Christian Baldauf, leader of Merkel’s conservatives in the state parliament of Rhineland-Palatinate, told Rheinpfalz am Sonntag newspaper.

Germany’s generous refugee protection guarantees were raising serious questions, Baldauf said.

“Who can understand that a rejected asylum seeker who has been tried several times for various violent crimes cannot be deported, but the same man manages to travel back to his home country in a cloak and dagger operation?” Baldauf said.

The Iraqi suspect, who arrived in Germany at the height of Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, was known to police because he had become violent with officials over his asylum status.

Special police gets ready before a helicopter carrying twenty-year-old Iraqi Ali B. lands in Wiesbaden, Germany, June 9, 2018, after his arrest by police in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, admitting to the rape and murder of Susanna F., a 14-year-old German girl. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

Bashar had previously been suspected in the rape of an 11-year-old girl at a refugee centre, although an investigation was inconclusive. His asylum request was rejected in December 2016.

Merkel’s decision to welcome more than one million refugees in 2015 has boosted support for the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party. The government has put aside more than 20 billion euros ($23.5 billion) to integrate asylum seekers and tackle the root causes of migration.

Baldauf said the state’s answer to the murder case should not be “chintzy populism” or a racist hate campaign.

“It’s about speeding up investigations and court decisions, reaching faster verdicts and finding ways of deporting perpetrators and potential offenders without exceptions,” he said.

Wolfgang Schaeuble, president of the Bundestag lower house of parliament and former finance minister, said Germany had to correct its relatively generous asylum rules.

“We must cut back parts of our German law, if we want to come to a common European asylum policy,” Schaeuble told Wirtschaftswoche magazine.

Schaeuble added he had already fought against “some exaggerations” in Germany’s asylum law when he was interior minister in the 1990s.

Feldman, a Jewish teenager from Mainz near Frankfurt, was found dead on Wednesday in a wooded area in Wiesbaden, near a refugee centre where the alleged attacker had lived, German police said.

Slideshow (2 Images)

An autopsy showed she had been the victim of a violent and sexual attack. Police said there was no evidence her religion had been a factor and the Central Council of Jews in Germany cautioned against attributing any anti-Semitic motive.

Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Adrian Croft

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