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CRIME

Man sentenced to life in prison for rape and murder of Chinese student

The grim details of the rape, abuse and murder of a young Chinese student by a German couple last year shook many across Germany. Now the 21-year-old perpetrators have been sentenced to prison.

Man sentenced to life in prison for rape and murder of Chinese student
Sebastian F. in court on Friday. Photo: DPA.

A court in Dessau-Roßlau, Saxony-Anhalt on Friday sentenced 21-year-old Sebastian F. to life in prison for raping and murdering the Chinese architecture student. His former girlfriend, Xenia I., was sentenced to five years and six months in youth detention for sexual assault. In Germany, suspects can be tried under juvenile criminal law until age 21.

According to broadcaster MDR, Sebastian F. must serve at least 15 years in prison before he can apply to be released on probation.

Both defendants were also ordered to pay damages for pain and suffering amounting to €60,000 in total.

The 25-year-old architecture student had gone for a jog in the city of Dessau on May 11th last year when the young couple lured her to an empty apartment. The pair then raped the woman repeatedly and abused her, 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 organized 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.

Head judge Uda Schmidt said the two had committed an “incomprehensible crime,” adding that the young student lost her life so that the former couple could live out their sexual fantasies.

Sebastian F., whose parents are police officers, remained silent and indifferent during the more than eight months of court proceedings.

Initially there had been suspicions that the young man’s parents had had an influence on the case, especially because his mother had taken part in the first interviews before there were any suspects. But these suspicions about his parents were not substantiated.

Xenia I., who has three children, told the court that she had been the one to lure in the young woman and had been present when she was raped. But she said she was not there during the abusive treatment that ultimately led to the student's death.

Sebastian F. is also accused of at least one further rape committed in the summer of 2013 in Dessau which only came to light in the course of the investigation.

Dessau is closely associated with the Bauhaus movement and draws architecture and design students from around the world.

GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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