German police arrested seven Afghan asylum seekers in raids on refugee shelters on Thursday on suspicion the men repeatedly raped an Iranian teenager and filmed the sexual assault. More than 30 police joined the raids on 10 rooms in several accommodation facilities in the towns of Nagold and Wildberg in the southwestern state of Baden-Wurttemberg, said police. “The Afghan asylum seekers are suspected of having raped a 17-year-old Iranian asylum seeker several times and of having filmed the acts,” police and prosecutors said in a brief joint statement.
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Germany took in almost 900,000 asylum seekers last year –about half from conflict-torn Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and put them up in shelters countrywide, including hostels, shops, sports gyms and army barracks.
Tensions have at times flared in the often overcrowded facilities, where refugees typically have little space or privacy and face the frustration of months-long waits to have their cases heard.
While some shelters have seen mass brawls between members of different national, ethnic and religious groups, in others women and children have faced a heightened threat of sexual abuse, say aid workers.
In one family tragedy that shocked Germany, a Syrian man was sentenced to 15 years’ jail today for attempted murder after throwing his three children out of a first-floor window, badly injuring two of them, in a marital dispute.
The court in the western city of Bonn heard that the man, identified only as Zanar H., 35, had tried to kill the children, aged between one and seven, to punish his wife for “violating his honour”.