German weekly Stern on 11 February wrote about what it calls “the riddle” surrounding a refugee. The man was given status in Germany, despite having a criminal background and doubts about his origins. Chalid M. (37, pseudonym) claims to be from a Palestinian family, which lived in the refugee district Jarmuk at the edge of Damascus, Syria. After eight years in school, he trained to be a plasterer and fulfilled his military conscription. In 2010 he left Syria for Libya, together with his Palestinian wife and both of his sons, to stay with relatives there. The situation in Syria, a year before the outbreak of civil war, was already becoming too dangerous. From Libya, he claims to have traveled to Karlsruhe, Germany, through Italy, by tugboat. However, none of this is verifiable.
What is clear, according to Stern, is that Chalid arrived in Germany in 2014, alone and without identity papers. What happened to his papers? He claimed that they were destroyed when his house was hit by a missile and that they were taken from him when he entered Libya. In March of the same year, he applied for asylum.
He was given housing in an asylum center in Rottenburg, where he was given a bed and €330 each month. He was dissatisfied by his state of affairs.
Later in Court, he would claim that he was looking for security and a job, to be able to offer his children something. “But nobody helped me.” He was discriminated against by the other Syrian refugees, “dogs, all of them!“, for being Palestinian. Germany was cold, he felt lost and missed his sons.
He started to attend German language lessons but gave up on them quickly. His German vocabulary is limited to “work” and “I love you.”
In September 2014 he was first caught shoplifting, starting a spree. He attracted police attention for verbally attacking the patrons of a restaurant while drunk, and was aggressive towards police officers. Chalid soon took his antics further: he attacked a 16-year-old female cyclist, trying to tear her phone from her hands. When she resisted the attempt, he sunk his teeth into her hand. In December he stopped another young woman, who fled to a gas-station. He was apprehended. When interviewed he said:
“I’m missing sex, I’m missing, I don’t know what.“
When in court at the beginning on 2015, for the assaults and robberies, he claimed to have been drunk during the second assault. But at least now the
“young lady knew to be careful of people like me. That’s not a bad lesson to learn.“
The Court then asks its expert, psychiatrist Hannes Moser, to examine Chalid. Moser asks about his refugee-story, finds it “very broad” and “barely understandable.” Even when describing his children, Chalid is unclear. It could be, that he merely claimed to have children in order to gain sympathy, according to Moser. His psychology is striking. He is little affected by what he has done and sees no need to work on himself. In view of the lack of insight, and his alcohol consumption, there is a danger of “further, comparable acts.”
Despite his conviction and the expert testimony of Moser, bureaucratic incompetence and overworked courts lead to this information not reaching the German Immigration Board (BAMF). On 22 June 2016, his asylum request is denied, but Chalid is given ‘subsidiary protection’. This means, that he can stay in Germany for the duration of the war in Syria, but no longer, and isn’t allowed to bring his family over. BAMF bases this decision on the opinion of an interpreter, that Chalid is indeed a Palestinian who has lived in Syria. Whether or not BAMF has requested the court documents and learned about doubts as to his story or identity is unknown. But it isn’t likely. Chalid, however, isn’t satisfied and appeals the decision. On 12 April 2017, the Administrative Court of Sigmaringen recognizes him as a refugee under perpetual protection and the right to bring his family over. The judges base their decision on the argument that as a Palestinian of military age, Chalid will be at risk of interference from the Syrian regime.
But while this decision protects Chalid from a highly theoretical threat, it does not protect people in Germany from Chalid. Eight months after the Admnistrative Court’s favorable decision, he is back in court, this time in Tübingen. A second psychological evaluation is made of him by Peter Winckler. Sternwrites
“A case like this, Winckler has seldom seen. Chalid sees himself as outside of every social community, is anti-social, extremely disturbed, maybe even ‘a classical psychopath’. To know this for sure, Winckler says he has to know Chalid’s history. But that history remains, even to the expert, ‘essentially a black box.’“
So why is Chalid in court this time? On 22 June 2017 71-year-old Harald D. is on his bike, driving from Tübingen to Rottenburg. When he nears Hirschau cemetery, he hears screaming. Dismissing it as cheerful children at first, as he comes nearer with every bend in the road, the pitch of the screaming starts grating his hearing. Later he says that
“Someone was calling out in dire need.“
After the last corner, he sees a man lying on his belly on a haystack on the side of the road, a screaming child underneath him. Harald gets of his bike, and grabs his heavy chain bike lock. He shouts out:
“Leave that girl alone!“
At that moment, another cyclist approaches the scene. Joachim S. (51) is a police officer and he overpowers the girl’s attacker. The child gets up, covered in abrasions and bruises on both arms and legs, “petrified,” as a detective will later describe it.
Stern calls her Marie, she is 10 years old and goes to school in Tübingen. The police say Chalid had come up on his bicycle from the other direction, drove into her and dragged her into the haystack. He threw himself on her, touched her chest and lower body.
Last week, Chalid was convicted to five years and nine months in prison for aggravated sexual assault and child abuse. After serving his sentence, he might be held in preventive detention. In her summation, the State Prosecutor Chalid possibly leads
“a faked existence. I don’t know who he is, where he comes from, and what his true history is.“
The only thing that is clear, is that since coming to Germany, Chalid has disregarded every rule, and unscrupulously taken what he wanted. Experts predict, that as long as he does not deal with himself, he remains very dangerous indeed. That he is not inclined to such self-reflection at all, becomes clear even to laypersons attending the trial. When Marie’s mother testified to the court, Chalid lectured her:
“The girl ought to have gone to school by bus.“