Family accused of enslaving woman

A German family of three has been arrested on charges of keeping a 20-year-old woman as a slave for nearly a year in their home until her escape last weekend, prosecutors said Thursday.

Family accused of enslaving woman
Photo: DPA

A police commando unit raided the home in the town of Haßmersheim in Baden-Württemberg on Wednesday and detained the father, mother and son on suspicion of imprisoning the woman and brutally forcing her to perform household tasks.

In an least one instance, the father allegedly raped the victim. A source close to the investigation said the son was a minor.

“During the entire time, the victim was repeatedly abused, humiliated and threatened,” prosecutors in the city of Mosbach said in a statement.

The family “is strongly suspected of using violence and threats to force the victim to perform household chores and to snuff out any hope of fleeing from her thoughts.”

Prosecutor Franz-Josef Heering declined to elaborate on the case but told news agency AFP the alleged victim and the family members were all German citizens and knew each other before she was believed to have been taken prisoner.

He declined to comment on the ages of the suspects.

Authorities said at least one member of the family kept watch over the woman at all times but that she was nevertheless able to escape last weekend through an open window.

Heering said she reported her alleged ordeal to police in a neighbouring town.

Because they had reason to believe the family held weapons, police dispatched the commando unit.


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German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.