Shortly after midnight on April 15th, Shaden M. was waiting at a tram stop in Cottbus, Brandenburg. The 22-year-old was on an exchange programme at the Brandenburg University of Technology (BTU) from her Egyptian university and was enjoying a night out with friends.
But then she stepped out into the street, not noticing a car which was driving well over the 30 kilometre per hour speed limit. She was struck to the ground by the vehicle and died three days later in hospital, Tagesspiegel reports.
At first local police opened an enquiry into negligent killing by the 20-year-old driver.
But this week a crime which seemed to have been caused by youthful recklessness took on a much darker character.
A witness to the incident told local newspaper the Lausitzer Rundschau how the young men in the car responded as Shaden M. lay bloodied on the street.
While the driver remained calm, the two passengers approached the group that had formed around the young student “and laughed and made jokes,” the 19-year-old recounted.
Among other things the young men reportedly said, “fuck off back to your own country, then you won’t get run over, fucking asylum seeker.”
Another remarked: “I know you don’t have streets where you come from, but in Germany you need to look where you are going.”
Police interviews with other witnesses confirmed the 19-year-old's version of events.
But Brandenburg's police commissioner has also ordered an internal enquiry to find out why the political element to the crime only came out over a week after it occurred, and then through a newspaper report.
The enquiry will look into why the officers at the scene failed to look into whether there was a political motive behind the crime, something which is obligatory at all crime scenes in Brandenburg, a state with a strong far-right scene.
The case has met with outrage, with Brandenburg’s Minister for Science Martina Münch describing it as “a disgrace.”
Crime figures released by the Interior Ministry this week showed that political crime reached a record high in 2016. More than 23,500 far-right crimes were reported, and the number of violent far-right crimes rose by 14.3 percent.