A report from the 18th day of the trial of Hussein Khavari, who killed and raped 19-year-old Maria Ladenburger on October 16, 2016. An original translation from Die Welt:
“It’s only a woman”, said Hussein K.
By Christine Kensche
January 26., 2017
More lies – and a peculiar view of women: At the trial of Hussein K. in the Maria L. murder case, Greek police officers report of their investigations. In 2013, K. had hurled a female student over a quay wall on Corfu.
The sun is setting at the horizon, the facades are shimmering in shades of terracotta, the sea is Greece-blue. A narrow sidewalk winds along the bay. View over a waist-high handrail: the quay wall is plunging ten meters, down there are rocks, waves, a narrow stripe of grit.
Over this handrail, Hussein K. had hurled a young woman. “The girl was lucky”, the police officer resumes. She landed on the stripe of gravel and broke her bones. If she had landed on the rocks, she would probably have been dead.
On this day 18 of the homicide case in Freiburg, holiday films are shown. Chief Prosecutor Eckart Berger took these films when he went to Corfu in his holidays. On this island, Hussein K. committed his first crime that went on records, before he came to Freiburg as an allegedly under-aged refugee and raped and murdered student Maria L.
Berger took the trouble so that the court can visualize the crime scene. Two police officers from Greece came and recall their investigations. What they have to tell from Hussein K.’s interrogation, sounds all too familiar with his statements at the Freiburg district court. It is the same pattern of lies – and a peculiar picture of women.
Hussein K. and his first victim met in the early morning hours of May 26., 2013, in Corfu city. Spyridoula C., who was a 20 year and a student at that time, describes it as following: It was around 2:20 AM when she walked home from a bar at the promenade, and saw K. approaching on the other side of the street.
Bitter laughter in the auditorium
He crossed the street blazingly fast and started punching her, grabbed her handbag and pushed her to the ground. Then she saw the headlights of a car and screamed for help. K. grabbed her and lifted her over the handrail, headfirst. C. grasped on to the fence and begged him not to hurt her. Hussein K. told her to shut up. He detached her grasp and threw her over the handrail.
There is a bitter laughter in the auditorium when the Greek officers describe his arrest. He was carrying a document that identified him as an asylum seeker from Afghanistan, birthday: 01.01.1996. He had stated Nov. 11, 1999 to German authorities. The question of age is of critical importance in this trial for the degree of penalty.
The Greek investigators had managed that same night to arrest K. The student was able to describe him quite well, and besides, she had noticed that his trousers were wet. Even though he had changed clothes in the meantime, investigators found the grey Nike sneakers, now wet, too, which Spyridoula C. had described.
In the interrogations, Hussein K. got tangled up in contradictions, the two officers report. For example, he had alleged that he was drunk and had wanted to clean himself in the sea. “He definitely wasn’t drunk”, says the chief of investigations. He thinks that K. wanted to rob the student’s handbag, and then, when cars came and he feared discovery, he threw her down the quay wall. Later then he wanted to see if she was still lying on the bay.
But at that point, the gravely injured 20-year-old had already managed to drag herself home, half unconscious. At a confrontation in the hospital, she identified Hussein K.
K. confessed. But his “confessions” is a concoction of lies and half-truths, just „like the one he served at the start of the Freiburg trial. Yes, he and the student had met on the street to the harbor. But she got scared of him for no reason at all and suddenly started screaming. He “pushed her out of the way” in order to be able to walk past her on the narrow promenade.
“It is only a woman”
Sebastian Glathe, Hussein K.’s attorney, repeatedly probes why there was no attorney at the interrogation back then. K. renounced an attorney, says the chief of investigations. Why would he have done that, asks Glathe. “Maybe he thought he would not get sentenced anyway”, replies the police officer. Hussein K. was “cool” and “indifferent” during the interrogation, he says. At one point, he commented: “But it is only a woman”.
A Greek court sentenced Hussein K. to ten years prison, according to youth criminal code, for robbery and attempted murder. But in an amnesty, K. was released already in October 2015 and came to Germany. The Freiburg lawsuit is prolonged, among other reasons, for the testimony of the Greek officers. They are to help the decision in an important point: preventive detention.
In order to be able to impose it, the court needs to prove that the accused has got a so-called leaning to grave crimes, and will be dangerous in the future, too. For this, experts analyze the past: which crimes did the suspect already commit? How did he proceed? The analysis of the background is to give clues as to how he will act in the future.
The preventive detention needs to be imposed in the verdict, or at least reserved. It is not a punishment but meant to protect society of a perpetrator who will still be dangerous after serving his sentence. Psychiatrists will evaluate every two years if the arrested person still poses a risk. He will remain in detention as long as the prognosis for him is negative – in theory, this can be until his death.
So there is a lot at stake for Hussein K. He seems to understand that, unlike normally, on this day, he often leans over to interpreter and attorney and whispers to them. Admittedly, it appears that there were no sexual motivations for his crime on Corfu; at least his victim did not notice anything like that. But the psychiatric expert will have taken note of the indifference and brutality with which K. committed this earlier crime.
There is another striking detail that had surfaced on an earlier day of the trial. When the German investigators analyze the Facebook profile of Hussein K., they discover a picture of a werewolf towering over an undressed woman.
Judge Kathrin Schenk wants to know why he chose that motive. “I googled wolf”, replied the accused. But now the Greek investigators describe the clothes that Hussein K. wore back then: in that night in May 2013, when he threw a woman down a cliff, he wore a black T-shirt with the face of a wolf.