FRANKFURT — Police said Sunday that a 20-year-old former asylum-seeker admitted killing a 14-year-old girl in a case that has stirred up debate over Germany’s immigration policies.
Police in the town of Wiesbaden said Ali Bashar made the admission after he was extradited the previous day from Iraq.
Bashar and his family abruptly left a home for asylum applicants in Germany after the girl’s slaying.
Police said the body of Susanna Maria Feldman was found buried on the outskirts of the town Wednesday. She had been missing since May 22. Her brutal killing has been met with horror in the Jewish community of nearby Mainz, which she belonged to.
An autopsy showed Feldman was the victim of a sexual and violent attack, Reuters said Saturday, quoting police saying there was no evidence her religion had been a factor.
Wiesbaden police said Bashar claimed the girl suffered facial injuries in a fall and he feared she would inform authorities. Bashar repeated his statement in front of a judge, who ordered him held pending investigation.
Police said Bashar was a suspect in a string of previous offenses in the area, including a robbery at knifepoint. He is believed to have arrived in Germany in October 2015 at the height of the migrant influx to Germany and was appealing the rejection of his asylum application.
The dpa news agency reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a televised interview Sunday night that “the case showed how important it is that people who have no permission to remain must receive their court proceedings without delay and be sent home quickly.”
The Central Council of Jews in Germany over the weekend urged a “swift and comprehensive” probe into the case and tough consequences for the perpetrator.
Alice Weidel, a leader of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany Party, said last week that Merkel should resign over the case.
A legislator from the party used his speaking time in parliament for an unannounced minute of silence for Susanna, leading to accusations from other lawmakers that the party was exploiting the girl’s death for political purposes.
Previous killings by asylum-seekers in Germany have fanned tensions over the influx of more than a million migrants from places like Afghanistan and Syria in 2015 and 2016, an issue that helped the far-right Alternative for Germany Party enter the German parliament last year.