Two foreign nationals were arrested at a railway station in Germany last Wednesday evening after reportedly pushing a man onto the train tracks who refused to give them a cigarette.
The incident occurred at the central train station in Pforzheim, a town in southwestern Germany, where a 49-year-old man was standing on the platform.
The PZ News outlet reported how the victim was approached by two men, a 33-year-old Algerian and a 31-year-old Tunisian national, both of whom demanded a cigarette. When the man refused, he was assaulted by the two men and pushed from the station platform, falling under a waiting train.
As the victim attempted to climb back onto the platform, he was assaulted a second time by his attackers.
Bystanders witnessed the attack and attempted unsuccessfully to intervene. Police were alerted to the incident and sought to apprehend the assailants, one of whom attempted to flee the scene.
Both were eventually apprehended by state police and handed over to federal authorities. They are understood to have been charged with dangerous bodily harm and remain in custody.
Despite being reported in several German news outlets, a copy of the police report detailing the account appears to be missing from the Pforzheim police headquarters’ press portal.
Syrian national arrested for throwing school girl onto train tracks in Germany
The incident is the latest in a worrying trend of train track attacks disproportionately involving migrants
The potentially deadly act of pushing victims onto train tracks is a growing trend in Germany and has previously been proven to be disproportionately associated with foreign nationals.
Germany’s state-owned Deutsche Welle broadcaster reported last year that of the 65 most recent reports of incidents involving people being thrown onto railway tracks, 38 involved suspects who were not German nationals.
In July 2018, a 41-year-old Eritrean national pushed an 8-year-old girl in front of a train in Frankfurt. He ended up avoiding prison and was sent to a psychiatric institute after claiming mental incapacity.
In January 2021, a Nigerian man caught traveling as a fare-dodger also in Frankfurt pushed a 60-year-old woman onto the tracks, resulting in serious injury.
In May of the same year, a 30-year-old Afghan male attacked a 12-year-old girl by trying to push her in front of a moving train in the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania state capital of Schwerin.
More recently in January this year, a 27-year-old Syrian national was arrested for reportedly throwing a teenage girl onto the train tracks at the Altena railway station in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Attempting to explain the phenomenon, Martin Rettenberger, director of the Criminological Central Office, told Deutsche Welle last year that newcomers to the country are more likely to be suffering from severe psychiatric issues.
“There is at least the mentally confused to severely mentally ill type of perpetrator,” he told the broadcaster. “People in precarious situations are more likely to be in urban centers and at traffic junctions.”