Ali Bashar covers his face during his trial for the murder and rape of Susanna Feldmann, March 2019..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Failed asylum seeker Ali Bashar was handed a life sentence by a court in Wiesbaden, Germany, on Wednesday for the rape and murder of Jewish teenager Susanna Feldmann in May 2018.
Bashar, 22, arrived in Germany with his family from Iraq and applied for asylum while living in Wiesbaden, near Frankfurt. It was there that he befriended 14-year-old Feldmann through his younger brother, who was also an asylum seeker.
After meeting up with Feldmann on the evening of May 22, Bashar raped and strangled the girl in a brutal murder before leaving her body in a wooded area in Wiesbaden.
After the murder, Bashar used the victim's phone pretending to be Susanna, to send WhatsApp messages to her mother, Diana Feldmann, in an attempt to convince her mother that Susanna had left for Paris.
“Goodbye Wiesbaden, now to Paris with my heart Armando,” wrote Ali with emoticons, posing as Susanna.
During the search for her daughter, Diana Feldmann even visited Bashar's home for help. She later told The Jerusalem Post
that Bashar's family told her they had heard about the situation from the news."
We were talking to them in their house and the mother said, ‘Allah, Allah. We didn’t see him.’
"They lied to me, to my face," she continued. "They knew exactly what happened. How can a mother – a mother who has eight children herself – lie to another mother’s face and say: ‘I don’t know what happened to your daughter’?”
Susanna's body was eventually discovered on June 6 by police. It was buried in a shallow grave near railway tracks.
After committing the crime, Bashar fled back to Iraq with his family. There, he was arrested by Kurdish authorities and interrogated, before being returned to Germany to face trial.
Bashar admitted having sex with Feldmann, claiming it was consensual, but said he could not remember killing her due to intoxication. Bashar told the court that after sex the girl had threatened to report him to authorities and then "everything went black," he claimed. "I don't know how it could have happened."
Due to the severity of the crime, Bashar is not eligible for parole for at least 15 years. He is also facing charges in a separate rape case, with prosecutors claiming that he repeatedly raped an 11-year-old girl.
Susanna's case provoked widespread anger in Germany about the open-door policies on immigration of Chancellor Angela Merkel, especially during the European migrant crisis of 2015. After the murder, Diana Feldmann wrote an open Facebook letter to Merkel, telling her the blood of her daughter is on her hands.
In a letter published by the German newspaper Bild,
the bereaved mother wrote, "That which was done to my daughter and to us is irreparable. Part of my future and my heart went with Susanna."
While Feldmann was Jewish, police said there was no evidence her religion was relevant to the crime, and the Central Council of Jews in Germany also released a statement refuting claims that it was an antisemitic attack. Orit Arfa contributed to this report.
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