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CRIME

German girl ‘kept like an animal’ for eight years

A German girl has been rescued by Bosnian police after allegedly being held captive by a couple for eight years during which she was forced to eat pig feed and pull a horse-cart.

German girl 'kept like an animal' for eight years
The house where the girl was held. .Photo: DPA

A neighbour who raised the alarm told AFP he witnessed the couple treating the girl, now 19, like an animal.

Milenko and Slavojka Marinkovic were arrested at their home in a village in the northwestern Tuzla region after police received the tip-off from neighbour Sead Makalic earlier this month.

“They kept her locked up, neither allowing her contact with other people, nor to go to school,” police spokesman Admir Arnautovic told FTV public television. “They subjected her to inhumane treatment and torture.”

The couple were arrested on May 17 but police on Sunday said they could not reveal further details of the case, while prosecutors were not available for comment.

The girl, who has not been named by police, had been placed in a safe house and was receiving medical treatment, investigators quoted by FTV said.

Makalic said he remembered the German girl appearing in the village of Karavlasi with her mother and two sisters but did not take much notice of her arrival.

“At the time I was helping them (the Marinkovic couple) to build their house and I did not pay attention,” Makalic said.

Years later, he said he saw her eating pumpkin and corn grain used to feed the couple’s pigs.

One day, he said, he saw them make her pull a horse-cart “while they were sitting on it”.

“They put her in place of the horse and were laughing,” he said.

According to Makalic, the couple were from a “Roma family in which several brothers lived together, often travelling to Germany and Austria.

He said he had tried to alert police earlier. “But when the police came they hid her very well,” he said.

Earlier this year he had not seen her for about a year and was told by the couple that she was in Germany.

But “when I saw her again on May 15, I took a picture of her with my mobile telephone and went to alert the police”, he said.

Miko Marinkovic, a brother of the suspect who had returned from Austria where he lives, on Sunday told AFP in Karavlasi that the allegations were nothing more than fabrications.

“We have never mistreated” her, he said. “It will be proved.”

The girl’s mother, meanwhile, also denied any wrongdoing.

“This is all a lie. We live well here. Those people made up all of this,” she said.

Local media reported that the girl had arrived in Bosnia from Germany eight years ago with her mother.

The mother had lived between Karavlasi and Germany for several years and was in the village at the time of the arrests, they said.

They added that the girl’s mother could have entered into a sham marriage with Milenko Marinkovic to allow him to obtain a German residency permit.

Quoting officials, they said she was found in a forest and was in a poor physical and psychological state.

They also reported allegations of sexual abuse, quoting neighbours saying they heard the girl screaming and crying.

They said she could have been abused by friends of the Marinkovic family who visited them regularly.

AFP/hc

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CRIME

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.

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