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German Couple in Dock for Rape-Murder of Chinese Student

A German couple went on trial Friday accused of brutally raping and killing a Chinese student in eastern Germany, in a crime that caused outrage in both countries.

The 21-year-old defendants are believed to have lured the 25-year-old architecture student, who had gone jogging in the city of Dessau, to an empty apartment in May this year.

The pair, called Sebastian F. and Xenia I. in local media reports, then allegedly raped the woman repeatedly, leaving her with such severe injuries that they assumed she would die in the flat, prosecutors said.

When the couple returned hours later and found the victim, identified in media reports as Li Yangjie, still alive, they carried the severely wounded woman away and abandoned her in underbrush.

After friends in Germany and China alerted the authorities that she was missing, police organized a search for the woman, who was from the eastern province of Henan. Her corpse was found two days later.

An autopsy found she had suffered blows to the head, torso and extremities.

Sebastian F. is also accused of two further rapes committed in the summer of 2013 in Dessau which only came to light in the course of the other investigation.

Friday's hearing ended after an hour, during which prosecutors read out the charges, court spokesman Frank Straube told AFP.

"The two defendants are not addressing the accusations against them for the time being," he said. 

The victim's parents are co-plaintiffs in the case but were not present in the courtroom on Friday, Straube added.

After the murder came to light, hundreds of Chinese students and local residents held a rally in Li's memory to demand justice.

Beyond the shock at the brutality of the crime, the case also caused controversy in Germany and China because the mother and stepfather of Sebastian F. are both police officers.

The trial is scheduled to last until February. The defendants could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Source: Agence France Presse


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