An Iraqi man who fled Germany after the murder of a teenage girl has been arrested in his home country and admitted killing her, local police say. Ali Bashar, a 20-year-old asylum seeker, went missing after Susanna Maria Feldman, 14, was found strangled near the city of Wiesbaden last month. He was detained on Friday in Iraqi Kurdistan and confessed to raping and killing her, police there say.
The case has renewed debate in Germany over immigration policy. Police in the autonomous Kurdish region say they arrested Mr Bashar in his home region of Duhok, after they were contacted by the German authorities. German media say he is likely to be deported at the weekend. The girl’s mother reported her missing on 23 May. Her body was found in a wooded area near a center for asylum seekers were Mr Bashar and his family lived.
She had been strangled and sexually assaulted. Chancellor Angela Merkel was widely criticized over her decision to open Germany’s borders during Europe’s refugee crisis in 2015. More than a million migrants arrived in the country as a result. The backlash sparked by her policy helped fuel the country’s far right in last year’s election. The anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party entered the federal parliament for the first time.
Mrs Merkel’s CDU-CSU conservative bloc and the Social Democrats (SPD) agreed to limit migration as part of a coalition deal. Germany’s interior minister is pressing ahead with controversial plans to hold asylum seekers in centers until their right to stay is determined.
A note on terminology: The BBC uses the term migrant to refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum. This group includes people fleeing war-torn countries such as Syria, who are likely to be granted refugee status, as well as people who are seeking jobs and better lives, who governments are likely to rule are economic migrants.