In 2013 the suspect, an Afghan identified as Hussein K., received a 10-year sentence after being convicted of attempted murder in Greece. Hussein made his way to Germany after being paroled in 2015. On December 2 he was arrested in the southwest German city of Freiburg, for raping and killing a 19-year-old medical student on her way home from a party.
Freiburg prosecutor Dieter Inhofer has confirmed that Hussein first entered Germany in 2015, as an unaccompanied asylum seeker, and has been staying with family. Freiburg’s refugee community held a vigil mourning the woman’s death.
One German woman told DW, "We are all sad because of what happened to her but this should be seen only as an individual act and not be associated with all refugees.”
Speaking of her grandchildren, Afghan asylum seeker Naz Khanum said, "The accused killer is just one person and only he is accountable for his actions. But what have these children done to deserve any possible future backlashes?"
De Maiziere told reporters, "This is a very exasperating incident. We will certainly have to discuss it with the Greek side," adding that Athens should have conducted an international search instead of a national one, and that countries must collaborate more effectively when exchanging information on criminals.
Hussein was not placed on Schengen Information System or Interpol lists by Athens, meaning there was no warrant for his arrest and he was not flagged when he entered Germany.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other politicians have urged people not to stigmatize immigrants because of Hussein’s crimes. Anti-immigrant sentiment has been on the rise in Germany after roughly 900,000 immigrants came to the country last year.
Merkel’s recent ban on the hijab headdress has not helped dwindling approval ratings caused by what is perceived to be a fairly lax immigration policy. The chancellor has been combating right-wing anti-immigrant groups like Alternative for Germany (AfD), whose popularity has grown following what is now acknowledged as the largest refugee migration in Europe since World War II.
The AfD uses Hussein’s case, as well as incidents of women being robbed and sexually assaulted by North African men, to justify violence against all immigrants, in a policy of decrying what the nationalists call "the Islamisation of the West."