Europe’s refugee crisis

Refugees need to know Germany has ‘zero tolerance’ for sex crimes and violence, says Merkel ally

  • Migration minister Annette Widmann-Mauz says asylum seekers should take a course explaining how they can ‘coexist’ in German society
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 November, 2018, 8:23pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 November, 2018, 8:44pm

Asylum seekers must be taught that Germany has zero tolerance for sex crimes, its refugee commissioner said, after seven Syrians were arrested over the rape of an 18-year-old woman.

“The perpetrators must be brought before a court and punished severely,” Annette Widmann-Mauz, minister of state for migration, refugees and integration, told the RND news organisation.

German police arrested the seven Syrian men, aged 19 to 29, along with a 25-year-old German man last month on suspicion of raping the woman in the southwestern town of Freiburg.

One of the men is suspected of spiking the woman’s drink with drugs in a Freiburg nightclub before they all took turns at sexually assaulting her in some bushes outside.

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The crime has shocked Freiburg, a picturesque university town.

“All asylum seekers must receive signposting courses on coexistence in Germany as soon as they arrive in Germany, or at the initial reception centre, and that includes zero tolerance for sexual abuse and other acts of violence,” said Widmann-Mauz.

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In her role as migration minister, Widmann-Mauz works in the chancellery under Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Public backlash against the arrival of more than a million migrants since mid-2014 – many of them from Middle East conflict zones – has led to the rise of right-wing parties like Alternative for Germany.