Couple in dock for rape-murder of Chinese student

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected] • 25 Nov, 2016 Updated Fri 25 Nov 2016 14:28 CEST
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A German couple went on trial on Friday accused of brutally raping and killing a Chinese student in eastern Germany, in a crime that caused outrage in both countries.

The 21-year-old defendants are believed to have lured the 25-year-old architecture student, who had gone jogging in the city of Dessau, to an empty apartment in May this year.

The pair, called Sebastian F. and Xenia I. in local media reports, then allegedly raped the woman repeatedly, leaving her with such severe injuries that they assumed she would die in the flat, prosecutors said.

When the couple returned hours later and found the victim, identified in media reports as Li Yangjie, still alive, they carried the severely wounded woman away and abandoned her in underbrush.

After friends in Germany and China alerted the authorities that she was missing, police organised a search for the woman, who was from the eastern province of Henan. Her corpse was found two days later.

An autopsy found she had suffered blows to the head, torso and extremities.

Sebastian F. is also accused of two further rapes committed in the summer of 2013 in Dessau which only came to light in the course of the other investigation.

Friday's hearing ended after an hour, during which prosecutors read out the charges, court spokesman Frank Straube told AFP.

"The two defendants are not addressing the accusations against them for the time being," he said.

The victim's parents are co-plaintiffs in the case but were not present in the courtroom on Friday, Straube added.

After the murder came to light, hundreds of Chinese students and local residents held a rally in Li's memory to demand justice.

Beyond the shock at the brutality of the crime, the case also caused controversy in Germany and China because the mother and stepfather of Sebastian F. are both police officers.

The trial is scheduled to last until February. The defendants could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Chinese consulate gives warning about Germany

On Wednesday German media reported that the Chinese consulate in Düsseldorf had issued a warning to its citizens to "pay attention to their personal security, particularly in remote areas."

According to Der Westen, the statement in Chinese on the consulate website referred to "the current security situation in its area of responsibility" without going into more specific detail.

The statement was released after a Chinese student was raped on her way home from university in Bochum, North Rhine-Westphalia, earlier in November.

Police are looking for witnesses to the attack, indicating that a woman who was walking her dog and a man who asked the student for directions shortly before the attack could provide clues.

The suspect is described as being between 30 and 35 years old, 1.70 metres tall and of Arabic appearance. On Monday police released a photofit of the man.

Source: Bochum police



AFP/The Local 2016/11/25 14:28

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