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CRIME

Trucker jailed for life over murder of German student hitchhiker

A German court on Wednesday sentenced a Moroccan trucker to life in jail after finding that he murdered a 28-year-old student hitchhiker last year in a case pounced on by the far right.

Trucker jailed for life over murder of German student hitchhiker
Boujemaa Lamrabat was jailed for life on Wednesday. Photo: DPA

The 42-year-old driver named as Boujemaa Lamrabat, a Moroccan who lives in Spain, has been found guilty of killing Sophia Lösche to cover up the fact that he had severely injured her in a previous beating.

The court in Bayreuth, Bavaria, sided with the prosecution's call for a life sentence for murder rather than the defence's request for a lighter punishment for manslaughter.

Lösche had been hitching from her university in Leipzig, Saxony, towards her family home in Amberg, Bavaria, in June 2018 when she went missing.

After her disappearance, her family searched for her using social media and came into contact with Lamrabat before the police caught him.

Lösche's body was later found in a ditch by the side of a road in Spain.

Prosecutors said Lamrabat first beat her with a wheel wrench before finally killing her 10 minutes later.

The high-profile case was seized upon in Chemnitz, a city in far-right stronghold Saxony.

READ ALSO: Chemnitz: Portrait of a city shaken by anti-foreigner riots

Lösche's image was one of a number of large-format photos demonstrators carried through the town as part of a “silent march”, supposed to highlight violence committed by refugees.

The Lösche family has repeatedly said they see the case as one of violence against women, with no link to violence perpetrated by migrants.

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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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