Two German police officers have been removed from their posts after they failed properly to provide emergency assistance to a woman who was raped by a migrant in Bonn.
The lack of attention by the police has added to the perception that German authorities are not taking seriously a rape crisis in which thousands of German women and children have been sexually assaulted since Chancellor Angela Merkel allowed in around two million migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Some of the approximately two million migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East allowed into Germany by Chancellor Angela Merkel are shown arriving in the country, via Austria, on October 28, 2015 near Wegscheid. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)
The incident occurred shortly after midnight on April 2, when a 23-year-old woman was raped at a campground at the Siegaue nature reserve. When the woman's panic-stricken 26-year-old boyfriend called the police emergency number for help, a female officer answered the phone. The man said: "My girlfriend is being raped by a black man. He has a machete." The policewoman responded: "Are you f**cking with me?" ("Sie wollen mich nicht verarschen, oder?"). The man replied: "No, no." The policewoman responded: "Hmm." After some moments of silence, she promised to dispatch a police car to investigate. She then said, "thank you, bye-bye" and abruptly hung up the phone.
A few minutes later, the boyfriend again called the police emergency number and another officer answered the phone. The man said: "Hello, I just called your colleague." The officer replied: "What is it?" The man: "It's about my girlfriend being raped." The officer: "This is in Siegaue, is not it?" The man: "Exactly." The officer then told the man to call police in Siegburg, a town north of Bonn. "They can coordinate this properly," the officer said before hanging up.
Police finally arrived at the scene about 20 minutes later. Frank Piontek, a spokesman for the Bonn police department, initially defended the police conduct: "Even if police would have handled this differently, nothing could have been done to stop the rape." Facing a wave of public outrage, however, the Bonn police department police announced on May 31 — two months after the rape — that the two officers involved in the case would "never again" be allowed to work at the police emergency control center.
Meanwhile, six days after the rape, police arrested a suspect, a 31-year-old migrant from Ghana named Eric Kwame Andam X., based on DNA evidence. Eric X. was well known to German police: he had previously been arrested five times for a variety of crimes, was never charged and always set free. It later emerged that he had fled Ghana in 2016 after murdering his brother-in-law.
After leaving Ghana, Eric X., whose late father was one of the country's top cocoa producers, travelled to Libya. From there he crossed the Mediterranean Sea to reach Italy, where he applied for asylum and spent nine months in a migrant shelter.
In early 2017, Eric X. got on a train in Rome; he arrived in Germany on February 10, 2017 and applied for asylum there. One month later, German officials rejected his asylum application. Eric X. should have been deported on March 17 — two weeks before the rape in Bonn — but an immigration attorney filed a petition on his behalf to appeal the asylum decision, even though EU law clearly stipulates that Eric X. was allowed to apply for asylum in only one EU country, in his case Italy. Local judges were unable to decide the appeal in a timely manner because of an overload of similar cases.
The case of Eric X. and his 23-year-old rape victim has exposed, once again, the systemic failure by German authorities to enforce the law and to ensure public safety: a failure to secure borders; a failure to vet incoming migrants; a failure to prosecute and imprison criminals; a failure to deport failed asylum seekers; and a failure by police to take seriously the migrant rape crisis engulfing Germany.
An annual report — Criminality in the Context of Migration (Kriminalität im Kontext von Zuwanderung) — published by the Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA) on April 27 revealed an increase of nearly 500% in migrant sex crimes (defined as sexual assaults, rapes and sexual abuse of children) during the past four years.
The report showed that migrants (Zuwanderer, defined as asylum seekers, refugees and illegal immigrants) committed 3,404 sex crimes in 2016 — around nine per day. This was a 102% increase over 2015, when migrants committed 1,683 sex crimes — around five per day. By comparison, migrants committed 949 sex crimes in 2014, around three per day; and 599 sex crimes in 2013, around two per day.
According to the report, the main offenders in 2016 were from: Syria (up 318.7% from 2015); Afghanistan (up 259.3%); Iraq (up 222.7%); Pakistan (up 70.3%); Iran (up 329.7%); Algeria (up 100%); and Morocco (up 115.7%).
Germany's migrant sex-crime problem is being exacerbated by its lenient legal system, in which offenders receive relatively light sentences, even for serious crimes. In many instances, individuals who are arrested for sex crimes are released after questioning from police. This practice allows criminal suspects to continue committing crimes with virtual impunity.
In Hamburg, for example, a 29-year-old Afghan asylum seeker sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl while she was asleep in a room at a local hospital. The Afghan had been admitted to the hospital's emergency room due to his advanced state of inebriation. Unattended, the Afghan first wandered into the room of a 29-year-old woman who managed to get him to leave her alone. He then entered the room of the 15-year-old and performed sex acts on her. He was detained and released. Police said there were insufficient grounds to press charges.
Also in Hamburg, a court on June 8 ruled that Ali D., a 29-year-old migrant from Iraq who raped a 13-year-old girl in the city's Jungfernstieg subway station, could not be guilty of the charge of sexual abuse of children (Sexueller Missbrauch von Kindern) because he could not have known that the girl was under 14. According to German law, children are children if they are under 14 years of age. By dropping the charge of sexual abuse of a child, Ali D. faces only a single charge of rape which, in this case, carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison. The court showed leniency because Ali D. — who fled to Hungary after the attack and was extradited to Germany on March 2 — confessed to raping the girl. The court also said that Ali D. had "diminished responsibility" (verminderte Schuldfähigkeit) because he was drunk when he raped his victim.
The same court previously handed suspended sentences to a group of Serbian teenagers who gang-raped a 14-year-old girl and left her for dead in sub-zero temperatures. At the time, the judge said that although "the penalties may seem mild to the public," the teens had all made confessions, appeared remorseful and longer posed a danger to society.
The ruling, which effectively allowed the rapists to walk free, provoked a rare moment of public outrage over the problem of migrant sex crimes in Germany. An online petition calling for the teens to see time in prison has garnered more than 100,000 signatures, and prosecutors said they would appeal the verdict. The court has not yet, however, agreed to retry the case.
In Berlin, a court acquitted a 23-year-old Turkish man of rape because his victim could not prove that she did not give her consent. The court heard how the man shoved the woman's head between the steel bars of the headboard of a bed and repeatedly violated her over a period of more than four hours. The woman cried "stop" and resisted by scratching the accused on the back, but at some point she stopped resisting. The court asked: "Could it be that the defendant thought you were in agreement?" The court said it could not determine whether, from the perspective of Turkish culture, what she thought was rape he might have thought was simply wild sex.
In neighboring Austria, the Supreme Court reduced the sentence of Amir A., a 21-year-old migrant from Iraq, from seven years to four for raping a 10-year-old boy at a public swimming pool in Vienna. During his initial trial, Amir A. confessed to raping the boy. He said it was a "sexual emergency" because he had not had sex for four months. His defense attorney persuaded the Supreme Court that the seven-year sentence was "draconian" and "excessive." Counting time already served, Amir A. will soon be free.
Meanwhile, if opinion polls are any indication, Chancellor Merkel appears not to have to worry about paying a political price for her role in the migration crisis. Indeed, she is just as popular now as she was before the migrant crisis erupted in August 2015.
An ARD-Deutschlandtrend poll published on June 8 found that 64% of Germans are "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with Merkel. If the German chancellor were to be directly elected, 53% (up 4% from previous month) would choose Merkel, while 29% would opt for her Social Democratic challenger, Martin Schulz (down 7% from previous month).
In September 2016, the ARD-Deutschlandtrend poll showed Merkel's popularity rating had plunged to 45%, a five-year low, and down from a high of 67% a year earlier. At the time, more than half (51%) of those surveyed said it would "not be good" if Merkel ran for another term in 2017.
The polls seem to show two factors in Merkel's favor: the lack of a political rival strong enough to challenge her; and voters may think she is the least bad candidate to lead the country.
Sexual Assaults and Rapes by Migrants in Germany, May 2017
A 25-year-old migrant from Syria raped a 24-year-old woman in Magdeburg. A "dark-skinned" man (dunkle Hautfarbe) sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl while she was jogging in Hockenheim. Two "dark-skinned" men (dunkler Teint) sexually assaulted a 21-year-old woman in Coburg. An 18-year-old migrant from Tunisia sexually assaulted several women, including a female police officer, at the railway station in Freiburg. He was detained and released.
A Turkish taxi driver raped a 23-year-old woman in Wiesbaden. Three "southern- or Arab-looking men" (südländischem bzw. arabischem Aussehen) sexually assaulted a 21-year-old woman in Pforzheim. A 19-year-old migrant from Nigeria attempted to rape a 22-year-old woman in Munich. Three "Arab-looking" men (arabisches Aussehen) sexually assaulted a 21-year-old woman in Pforzheim. A "southern-looking" man (südländischer Typ) sexually assaulted several women in Chemnitz.
A "dark-skinned" man (dunklerer Teint) tried to molest an 11-year-old girl in Bielefeld. A "foreign-looking man with brown-colored skin" (ausländischem Aussehen mit bräunlicher Hautfarbe) sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl on a train in Marburg. A "southerner" (südländischer Typ) was arrested for sexually assaulting several women between the ages of 20 and 50 in Bonn. A man with "dark skin" (dunkle Haut) exposed himself to a 20-year-old woman in Herten. A "southern-looking" man (südländisches Erscheinungsbild) sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl in Kaltenkirchen.
A 17-year-old Afghan raped a 17-year-old girl in Calden. A man with "possibly a Russian accent" sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl in Kierspe. Two "dark-skinned" men (dunkle Hautfarbe) attempted to abduct a seven-year-old girl in Kiel. Two men speaking German with an Eastern European accent attempted to rape a 45-year-old woman in Papenburg.
A 19-year-old "refugee" raped a 16-year-old girl in Minden. The suspect is known to police for a variety of previous offenses. A "dark-skinned" man (dunkler Teint) sexually assaulted a 20-year-old female jogger in Kleve. A "southern-looking" man (südländische Erscheinung) sexually assaulted a woman in Nürnberg. A 28-year-old migrant from Somalia sexually assaulted a woman in Gießen. She defended herself with pepper spray; he was arrested at the scene.
A group of Afghan and Somali asylum seekers gang-raped a 15-year-old girl in Tulln (Austria). The perpetrators were identified after all 59 men in a local asylum shelter were ordered to provide DNA samples.
Two men "speaking broken German" sexually assaulted a 20-year-old woman in Munich. Several migrants sexually assaulted a 21-year-old woman in Augsburg. An unidentified man sexually assaulted a ten-year-old girl in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. An unidentified man sexually assaulted several teenage girls in Kierspe. An "Eastern European" man tried to rape a 45-year-old woman in Papenburg. At the time of the attack, the woman was walking her dog, a German Shepherd, which promptly bit the man and caused him to run away.
A 26-year-old migrant from Eritrea raped an underage girl near the railway station in Hennef. Four "dark-skinned" men (dunkelhäutigen Männern) sexually assaulted a 51-year-old man in Bad Reichenhall. A "dark-skinned" man (dunklen Teint) sexually assaulted a 24-year-old woman in Gießen. Three "dark-skinned" men (dunkelhäutiger Mann) sexually assaulted four women in downtown Stuttgart. Two Turkish men, ages 19 and 31, raped a 13-year-old girl in Wismar. The men had groomed the girl, who was home alone at the time of the attack, on the internet.
Two "Africans" (schwarzafrikanischer Typ) unleashed a dog on a 21-year-old woman and sexually assaulted her at a train station in Munich. A 36-year-old migrant from Bulgaria sexually assaulted a 21-year-old woman in Kassel. A "southern-looking" man (südländisches Aussehen) sexually assaulted a 17-year-old woman at the railway station in Ulm.
A "southern European-looking" man (südosteuropäisches Aussehen) sexually assaulted a woman in Nürnberg. A "dark-skinned" man (südländischer/dunkler Hauttyp) sexually assaulted a 26-year-old woman in Essen. A 22-year-old Syrian man raped his ex-girlfriend in the presence of her two small children in Barsinghausen. A "dark-skinned" man (dunklen Teint) sexually assaulted a 24-year-old woman at knifepoint in Gießen. A "southerner" (südländischer Typ) sexually assaulted a 22-year-old woman while she was jogging in Augsburg. A man with a "strong Eastern European accent" (starkem osteuropäischen Akzent) attempted to abduct a 21-year-old woman in Herden.
A 19-year-old Moroccan man sexually assaulted two women in Stuttgart. A "southern-looking" man (südländisches Aussehen) sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl in Lörrach. A 21-year-old migrant from Libya sexually assaulted a 20-year-old woman while was using a restroom at a restaurant in Plauen. A "dark-skinned" man (dunkelhäutigen Mann) sexually assaulted a 30-year-old woman in Freilassing.
Three asylum seekers were arrested for sexually assaulting several women at an outdoor festival in Darmstadt. A "southern-looking" man (südländisches Erscheinungsbild) exposed himself to a female jogger at a park in Oberhausen. An unidentified man exposed himself to a woman in Bremen.
An "Arab-speaking" man sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl who was riding her bicycle in Elmshorn. A 24-year-old migrant from Guinea sexually assaulted a 32-year-old woman on a bicycle path in Olpe. A "dark-skinned" man groped a woman at an outdoor festival in Nürtingen. When she slapped him on the face, the suspect, who remains at large, smashed a beer glass in her face.
A 27-year-old asylum seeker was arrested for raping a 37-year-old woman in Hamburg-Sülldorf. A 40-year-old man from India sexually assaulted a 52-year-old woman on a train in Chemnitz. An "African-looking" man (Erscheinungsbild her afrikanischer Abstammung) sexually assaulted a 34-year-old woman at the railway station in Ottbergen. Three "southern-looking" men (südländisches Erscheinungsbild) sexually assaulted two women in Winsen.
Court Cases involving Migrants Accused of Sexual Crimes, May 2017
May 10. An 18-year-old Somali man was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in a psychiatric hospital for sexually assaulting two elderly men and murdering an 87-year-old woman at a nursing home in Neuenhaus. The Somali had entered the nursing home at night through an unlocked door. He performed sex acts on an elderly man who was asleep. He then entered the adjacent room performed sex acts on another elderly man who was also asleep. When the man's wife woke up and caught the Somali in the act, the Somali beat her so severely that she died a few moments later.
May 11. In Landshut, a 37-year-old asylum seeker from Uganda was sentenced to four years in prison for raping a 29-year-old woman. The woman was riding her bicycle when the man stopped her, tore off her clothes and threatened her with a gun if she resisted sexual intercourse. The judge said the man had "diminished responsibility" (verminderte Schuldfähigkeit) because he was drunk when he raped his victim. The judge also noted that the man cannot be deported because he is bisexual and homosexuality is illegal in Uganda.
May 11. In Bremgarten (Switzerland), a 20-year-old migrant from Eritrea was sentenced to 38 months in prison for attempting to rape a 19-year-old woman. In his defense, the suspect blamed alcohol and the devil.
May 16. In Bochum, Ziyad K., a 32-year-old migrant from Iraq, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for raping two Chinese women. The judge said he had the impression that the man, who confessed to the crimes, "did not understand what he did." The judge added: "It is important to note that this case is not against refugees or asylum seekers."
May 22. In Leipzig, Mirza B., a 23-year-old migrant from Pakistan, was sentenced to one year and ten months in prison for sexually assaulting seven women. During his trial, Mirza B., whose German is reportedly limited to three words, "I f*ck you" ("Ich f... dich!"), admitted to committing the crimes. His excuse: alcoholism ("I drink seven beers a day") and ignorance ("I did not know that sexual assault is a crime.") Mirza B. cannot be deported because he does not have a passport or other official identification.