Two suspects freed in 'race-hate' beating

24th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

24 May 2006, KARLSRUHE - Two German white men who had been suspected of nearly killing a man because he was black were freed this week, with sources saying the assault appeared to have been just an alcohol-driven, middle-of-the-night brawl.

24 May 2006

KARLSRUHE - Two German white men who had been suspected of nearly killing a man because he was black were freed this week, with sources saying the assault appeared to have been just an alcohol-driven, middle-of-the-night brawl.

The victim, engineer and doctoral student Ermyas M., managed to record the attackers using racial insults just before they knocked him unconscious. After the recording was broadcast nationwide, federal prosecutors took charge of solving the "race-hate" crime.

The prosecutors in Karlsruhe said magistrates had ruled that the evidence for serious offences was not strong. 

The suspects, aged 29 and 30, were arrested five weeks ago in Potsdam, on the outskirts of Berlin, and flown to a federal jail in Karlsruhe. The victim, who is an Ethiopian-born German national, is getting better after serious head injuries.

Leaks by investigators suggested earlier that the victim had been drunk and aggressive before the 4 a.m. fight at a Potsdam tram stop.

Sources said Tuesday investigators believe that he picked a fight with the whites on April 16, and broke his skull when his head fell on the hard pavement. It was not clear if the suspects would still have to face lesser charges.

Evidence suggested the assailants used racial epithets and struck Ermyas M harder than they might have done with another white, but this was not enough to justify a sedition or race-hate indictment.

On Monday, four youths were convicted of terrorizing and beating a 12-year-old boy in a small German town because he was black. The incidents prompted questions about whether blacks are safe in Germany, which next month hosts the World Cup football tournament.

DPA

Subject: German News

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