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Asylum Seeker Accused Of Rape, Murder Goes On Trial In Germany

Hussein K (right) enters the courtroom at the regional court in Freiburg on September 5.

An asylum seeker who says he is Afghan is being tried in Germany in a rape and murder case that has fueled a nationwide debate about the country's immigration policy.

Hussein K., who is suspected of raping and murdering a female medical student last year, went on trial in the southwestern city of Freiburg on September 5.

The victim, identified as 19-year-old Maria L., disappeared in October 2016 on her way home in Freiburg and her body was later found in the Dreisam River.

Authorities say the suspect, who was arrested in December 2016, was linked to the crime through DNA evidence and video footage from near the scene.

His exact identity and age is unclear.

Hussein K. arrived in Germany in 2015 without identity papers and applied for asylum as an unaccompanied minor. He told authorities he was 17 and came from Afghanistan, but studies commissioned by prosecutors indicated that he was at least 22 at the time of the crime.

Following his arrest, it emerged that a Greek court sentenced him to 10 years in prison for robbing a 20-year-old woman and trying to kill her. He served around 18 months before being released on parole in October 2015 and absconding from the country.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa