Shocking past of jailed bogus migrant
A BOGUS asylum seeker who lied about having fled Afghanistan as a child after his father died fighting the Taliban has been jailed for life in Germany for the rape and murder of a teen medical student.
Hussein Khavari, of unknown age and origin, arrived in the country without identity papers in 2015, as an unaccompanied minor claiming to be 16 or 17 years old.
He was sent to live with a German host family in the picturesque town of Freiburg where he went to a local school, learned German and received state benefits.
But after a night of drinking October 16, 2016, he attacked medical student Maria Ladenburger, 19, as she rode home from a party in the early hours of the morning.
At his trial, the court heard Khavari pushed Ms Ladenburger off her bicycle then bit, choked and repeatedly raped her before leaving her on the bank of a river where she drowned.
The murder of Ms Ladenburger, who is the daughter of lawyer and senior EU official Dr Clemens Ladenburger, sparked a massive manhunt and fuelled a backlash against a mass influx of migrants at the time.
Khavari claims he came across Ms Ladenburger after hearing her cry out as she accidentally fell off her bicycle.
He said he then pressed her mouth shut and choked her with a scarf before putting her unconscious into the water.
"When I saw how pretty she was, I wanted to have sex with her," Khavari told the court, before adding he had been too drunk to do so.
He claimed he dragged her into the water not to kill her but "because I wanted to wash her blood from me".
Khavari sobbed in court on Thursday as he read out a statement of apology to his victim's family in which he claimed he suffered nightmares about Ms Ladenburger's death every day.
"I beg your pardon. I want to apologise to the family of Maria. I wish I could undo it," he said.
"What I have done, I am sad for from the bottom of my heart. I live with the agony of what I did and this torment destroys my life by and by."
Prosecutors disputed his version of events and alleged the murder was premeditated.
A psychiatric expert testified that he believed the remorse Khavari displayed was fake, telling the court that the defendant exhibited a "great and persistent readiness for violence" and warned there was a "high risk" of him reoffending.
Khavari harboured "an interest in aggressive sexual practices and a hostile attitude towards women", he said.
"Moreover, he does not show remorse and compassion to the suffering of other people."
Presiding judge Kathrin Schenk condemned the extreme "lack of empathy" of Khavari, who was handcuffed and wearing a black hooded jumper, before reading out the verdict and sentence, which were greeted with applause in the courtroom.
She convicted him and handed down the maximum sentence of life in prison, which under German law means 15 years behind bars, with no chance of parole and the possibility of "security detention" afterwards if the convict is still deemed to pose a threat to society.
Judge Schenk said she saw almost no chance of rehabilitation, telling Khavari that "you would have to become an entirely different human being".
Khavari had been arrested seven weeks after the murder, following a huge manhunt in the town near the French border.
Police had found a black hair partially dyed blond at the scene, then spotted Khavari by his hairstyle on security camera footage and linked him to the crime using his DNA.
As the crime sparked public anger and revulsion, social media users posted sarcastic "thank you" messages to Chancellor Angela Merkel over her liberal policy that brought more than one million refugees and migrants to the country.
During the trial, prosecutor Eckart Berger had reminded the two jurors sitting alongside three judges that "on trial is a criminal offender and not Germany's refugee policy".
KHAVARI ONCE PUSHED WOMAN OFF CLIFF
Khavari arrived in Germany, without identity papers, in November 2015, near the peak of the refugee influx, as an unaccompanied minor claiming to be 16 or 17 years old and hailing from Afghanistan.
A police officer told the court that Khavari's mobile phone and social media accounts suggested he had lived in Iran.
Khavari was sent to live with a German host family in the picturesque town on the edge of the Black Forest, went to a local school, learnt German and received state benefits.
It emerged only after his arrest that he had already committed a violent crime in May 2013 in Greece, where he pushed a woman off a cliff on the island of Corfu, leaving her badly injured.
He was sentenced there in February 2014 to 10 years jail for attempted murder but was granted a conditional release from Greece's overcrowded jails in October 2015.
He fled to Germany, where authorities knew nothing of his criminal past because Greece had only issued a nationwide warrant, and because no match was detected in an EU-wide fingerprint data base for asylum seekers.
Khavari was initially tried as a juvenile offender, but the court accepted expert opinions, based on X-rays and dental analysis, that he is now aged between 22 and 29.
The defendant had admitted to the crime, but claimed diminished culpability because he was under the influence of alcohol and drugs - a position which his defence said it would argue again in an appeal.
Khavari had also claimed that his father died long ago in a battle against Afghanistan's Taliban.
Judge Schenk in December dialled a number on Khavari's mobile phone and reached his father, who told her through an interpreter that he was living in Iran.
- With wires