Archive for the ‘Murder’ Category

Court spectators lined up to watch the trial of an Afghani asylum seeker charged with the murder of Maria Ladenburger, a 19-year-old German medical student

September 6, 2017


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The trial of Hussein Khavari, who is accused of raping and killing a young woman in October 2016, began on Sept. 5, 2017 at the regional court in Freiburg, Germany.  Members of the public lined up for two hours before the first day of trial to witness the court proceedings.  Pictures were taken of Khavari arriving at court in handcuffs and shackled at the ankles. The trial is expected to conclude in December after the court hears from at least 45 witnesses and 10 experts.

Maria Ladenburger, 19, a medical student at the University of Freiburg, was found dead on October 16, 2016 in a river in the town of Freiburg near Germany’s border with Switzerland.  Police later arrested Afrhani asylum seeker Khavari, who claimed to be 17 at the time but has now admitted that he was at least 18 when he arrived in Germany in 2015 without any identification or travel documents.  Prosecutors in the case believe that Khavari could be at least 22-years-old.

Ms. Ladenburg attended a party on the night of her death.  Khavari is alleged to have purposely waited outside the party until Ms. Ladenburg left on her bicycle about 3 a.m.  Khavari is alleged to have followed the young student before attacking her by biting her on the head and chest.  Prosecutors allege that Khavari ripped off Ms. Ladenburg’s clothes, choked her and raped her.  Prosecutors further allege that Khvari then threw Ms. Ladenburg into the River Dreisam in hopes that she would drown.

Chief prosecutor Ekkart Berger said at the start of trial:

“What exactly happened that night, the investigators were able to reconstruct in detail. We assume that he had a killing intention from the beginning. . . . At about 3 a.m. or a few minutes earlier, the defendant Hussein attacked Maria. He grabbed the handlebars of the bicycle and brought her to a halt.”

David Muller, head of the police Special Commission, said at a press conference:

“Through interviews and a web-based survey, we were able to reconstruct Maria’s final hours. The 19-year-old student had been at a party. By 2:37 a.m. she left the party, Maria then cycled home as usual. The young woman had been the victim of a sexual offense and a violent crime.”

Khavari told the court that he was born in Afghanistan but moved to Iran when he was 13.  (However, there is evidence that he is Iraqi.) After getting into trouble with the police, Khavari is said to have fled to Turkey and then to Greece.  Stern magazine reported that when he was in Greece he almost killed a 20-year-old girl by throwing her off a cliff in Corfu in 2013 — for which he was sent to prison for 10 years but later released.  Khavari then traveled to Germany as an unaccompanied minor in November 2015.  He is said to have developed an alcohol and drug problem — including the use of heroin up to twice a week for several months.

The assault of the woman in Greece was reported in a United Kingdom publication called METRO:

“It later emerged that Khavari was previously sentenced to 10 years in prison for attempted murder after he threw a woman off a cliff in Corfu in May 2013. is still unclear why Khavari, who arrived in Germany as an unaccompanied minor, was released by Greek authorities after just two years. Apparently, the German authorities knew nothing of his past and so let him into the country as a registered asylum seeker.  The victim, a history student, fell 25 ft down the Greek cliff and only survived because she knew how to protect her head from her hobby of mountaineering.  She said she had been walking home when Khavari suddenly appeared in front of her: ‘I gave him my purse. But when the headlights of a car illuminated him he pushed me backwards.’ Speaking to the Greek TV channel Alfa in 2014 she went on: ‘Then he grabbed me at the hips and legs, lifted me up and threw me down the cliff.’ After Bild newspaper showed a recent photograph of him to his lawyer in the Greek trial, Maria-Eleni Nikolopoulou, she told them: ‘This is the same person, definitely. I’m speechless.'”

(Source: John Roberts, Afghan national ‘raped EU official’s daughter to satisfy sexual urges before killing her’, METRO — Sept. 6, 2017.)

Another account of Khavari’s crime in Greece was reported in the on-line publication Revolvy:

“The suspect, identified as Hussein Khavari, entered Germany in 2015 without identification and claimed to have come from Afghanistan and to have been born in 1999. Because of his age he was granted asylum as an underage unaccompanied refugee and was placed with a foster family.  Following Khavari’s arrest as a suspect for the rape, Stern wrote that in 2014 he had been sentenced to 10 years in prison for robbing a 20-year-old student and throwing her over a cliff in Corfu, Greece during 2013. The victim survived with heavy injuries.  This was confirmed by the suspect’s Greek lawyer and by a fingerprint match. Khavari was released after one and half years in prison due to a general amnesty for juvenile offenders initiated by the Greek government. He violated his probation in Greece by not regularly reporting to a police station and migrated to Germany where German authorities did not find out about his earlier conviction because Greece had not initiated an international search via Interpol.  During the Greek trial in 2014, the suspect told the court that he had been born in 1996 and than he had fled from Iran, both of which conflicts with claims made when he entered Germany. In February 2017 the public prosecution stated that a medical investigation had revealed that the suspect was not a minor, but was at least 22 years old at the time of the crime. In March 2017, because of ‘doubts that could not be dismissed’ the suspect was not accused in criminal court, where the penalty for murder could be life in prison, but instead, in juvenile court, where the same crime carries only a maximum 10-year sentence.”

(Source: Murder of Maria Ladenburger — Revolvy — )

Ms. Ladenburger’s father, Dr. Clemens Ladenburger, is a legal adviser to the European Commission in Brussels.  Ms. Ladenburg worked in her spare time helping out migrants in various shelters and homes in Freiburg.  A funeral was held for Ms. Ladenburger during October 2016 at Notre Dame des Graces Church in Brussels.

Khvari stayed free for seven weeks before police arrested him. On Dec. 2, 2016, police announced at a press conference that they arrested Khavari on suspicion of murdering Ms. Ladenburg.  Khavari was arrested after police found Khavari’s DNA on a scarf belonging to the victim near a bicycle path. Police also found a single strand of Khavari’s hair on a nearby blackberry bush.  The 18.5 cm-long strand of black hair had partially been dyed blond.  Police also viewed a closed circuit video that showed Khavari on a local tram with long black hair partially dyed blond.

About one month after Ms. Ladenburg’s murder, 27-year-old Carolin Gruber was sexually assaulted and murdered in an attack in the same area.  Ms. Gruber’s body was found in a wooded area in Endinge, 18 miles from Freiburg, on Nov. 10, 2016.  Khavari has not been charged with Ms. Gruber’s murder.  Police have found no DNA evidence in the case of Ms. Gruber’s murder.

[UPDATE: During Khavari’s trial, he told the court: “When I saw how pretty she was, I wanted to have sex with her” but claimed he was too drunk to do so.  He claimed he dragged Ms. Ladenburg into the water “because I wanted to wash her blood from me” and not because he wanted to kill her.  On March 22, 2018, Presiding Judge Kathrin Schenk found Khavari to be guilty of rape and murder and sentenced him to the maximum sentence of life in prison.  Under German law, life in prison is said to mean 15 years in prison with no chance of parole and the possibility of “security detention” afterwards if the convicted person is still deemed to pose a threat to society.  Judge Schenk said: “He knew, that she was still alive as he laid her in the Dreisam [River], that she would drown, that she had to drown.”  Judge Schenk concluded that Khavari had almost no chance of rehabilitation and told him: “You would have to become an entirely different human being.” Before handing down the sentence, Judge Schenk said that Khavari demonstrated a “lack of empathy.”  This was greeted with applause in the courtroom. Khavari told the court: “I want to apologize to the family of Maria. I wish I could undo it. . . . 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.”  A psychiatric expert testified that he concluded that Khavari’s remorse was fake and told the court that Khavari exhibited a “great and persistent readiness for violence” and warned there was a “high risk” of him re-offending.  The expert said that Khavari harbored “an interest in aggressive sexual practices and a hostile attitude towards women.”  The expert added: “Moreover, he does not show remorse and compassion to the suffering of other people.” Evidence at trial turned out a number or irregularities including that Khavari was born in Iran — not Afghanistan — and that he could be as old as 32.]


Photo Credit: Unknown