Young Germans ‘mock dying Egyptian student after running her over’ – witnesses
The victim, an Egyptian student at the Brandenburg University of Technology (BTU) identified only as Shaden M, 22, was enjoying a night out with friends and was standing at a tram stop in the center of the eastern German town of Cottbus on April 15. At some point she stepped out into the street, not noticing a car that was approaching. The vehicle was going well over the speed limit of 30kph.
Shaden died three days later, German media report. Police opened an investigation into death by negligence shortly after the incident.
About a week later, the shocking details were revealed by a young witness of the accident, who said that the car that ran over the student stopped nearby before two male passengers got out while the driver stayed in the vehicle.
The men allegedly told the dying woman that she should “f*ck off back to [her] own country,”“then you won’t get run over.” They also reportedly called her a “f*cking asylum seeker.”
“I know you don’t have streets where you come from, but in Germany you need to look where you are going,” one of the two men said, according to the witness, identified as Josefine, 19, and cited by the local Lausitzer Rundschau newspaper.
Police then opened a separate probe over incitement of ethnic hatred and racial abuse against the two men, whose identities remain unknown, according to German media.
On Friday, Petra Hertwig, the spokeswoman of the Brandenburg Public Prosecutor’s Office, said that the investigators questioned additional witnesses who confirmed Josefine’s account.
The incident was denounced as a “disgrace” by the regional science minister, Martina Muench.
“The fact that a young man racially abused… a young woman who was fatally injured in a road accident, right in the center of Cottbus, is inconceivable and disgusting,” he said, as cited by Der Tagesspiegel daily.
Police also launched an internal investigation to find out why some details of the crime came out only a week after the incident and police were not aware of them earlier. The enquiry will also look into why the investigators at the scene failed to find any evidence of a racial, xenophobic or political motive behind the crime.
Having accepted more than 1 million refugees from the Middle East and Africa over the past several years, Germany now has to deal with a surge of far-right sentiment and a growing number of attacks on asylum seekers.
More than 900 assaults on refugee centers were recorded in 2016 all across Germany, and over 850 of them may have been committed by far-right extremists, according to police. The statistics mark a fivefold increase from 2014 figures.
The German Defense Ministry also launched investigations against hundreds of people over alleged far-right and extremist activity. In one recent case, a German officer registered as a Syrian refugee and allegedly planned to carry out a ‘false flag’ attack for xenophobic reasons.