An Iraqi man was sentenced to life in jail by a German court on Wednesday for the rape and murder of a teenage girl that fueled far-right protests against a mass influx of mostly Muslim migrants.
The Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and other far-right groups have seized on the brutal killing of 14-year-old Susanna Maria Feldman in their campaign against Chancellor Angela Merkel's asylum policy.
The accused, rejected asylum seeker Ali Bashar, 22, was convicted of the killing and handed the maximum sentence of life in prison by the court in Wiesbaden, the city where the murder took place in May last year.
The judge, Juergen Bonk, also found the crime to be of exceptional severity, meaning that Bashar will not be granted parole after 15 years, as is usually the case in Germany, but kept behind bars.
Bashar battered, raped and strangled the schoolgirl to death in a wooded area near railway tracks on May 23.
The court heard he then sent false messages from Susanna's smartphone indicating she had left for an impromptu trip to Paris.
Her body was only found on June 6 in a shallow grave covered with leaves, twigs and soil.
By this time, Bashar and his family had left Germany and returned to Erbil in northern Iraq.
The accused was however arrested by Kurdish security forces and, even though Berlin and Baghdad have no formal extradition treaty, taken back to Germany.