An Afghan refugee found guilty last month of raping an 11-year-old girl in a city park in Neustrelitz will not serve an immediate custodial sentence after receiving a suspended sentence and probation despite the severity of the crime.
The assailant, an Afghan male of unknown age but estimated by the state to be approximately 16 years old, is understood to have lured the girl into the Neustrelitz Palace Gardens on Jan. 18 this year before raping her.
He was found guilty in a trial lasting just one day by the city’s district court in June. Due to the absence of any documents to verify his age, an expert report was commissioned, which estimated his age to be 16. As such, he was tried as a minor and was sentenced to probation.
“I can more than understand that most citizens find this punishment too mild,” said Philipp Amthor, the local CDU Bundestag member, as reported by BILD. “Of course, you always have to look at the circumstances of the individual case, but a suspended sentence for the rape of an 11-year-old girl is hardly compatible with the public’s sense of justice,” the politician added.
Other prominent figures echoed Amthor’s sentiments, with an appalled Rained Wendt, the chairman of the police union, telling the German tabloid: “The rule of law has no protective effect in this way. I say that not only as the head of the police union, but also as a father and grandfather.”
Similarly, the leader of the CSU regional group, Alexander Dobrindt, said: “Such a punishment is completely unacceptable for this crime.”
Defense attorney Burkhard Benecken insisted that such sentences are not uncommon in Germany, particularly for young offenders. “This mild sentence is not unusual … in the case of young offenders, the focus is on the idea of education,” he said.