Home News Germany train incident: Eritrean on trial for boy’s Frankfurt death

Germany train incident: Eritrean on trial for boy’s Frankfurt death

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An Eritrean man is set to go on trial in Germany over the death of an eight-year-old boy who was thrown in front of a train last year.

Habte Araya, 41, is accused of pushing the boy and his mother onto the tracks at Frankfurt’s main station during an episode of paranoid schizophrenia.

Mr Araya had “at least a considerably reduced ability” to control his actions, prosecutors say.

But he could also be found to have committed murder.

The charges could be raised if Mr Araya is deemed to have “deliberately exploited the victims’ defencelessness”.

At present the father of three is accused of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter, and prosecutors have applied for him to be placed in a psychiatric institution.

What do we know about the attack?

Mr Araya is accused of pushing the pair onto the tracks in front of an arriving train during the incident on 29 July last year.

The mother was able to roll off them and escape, but the boy was killed instantly.

Mr Araya is also accused of attempting to push a 78-year-old woman onto the tracks, but the woman managed to survive.

Witnesses said a man was then chased and stopped by passers-by.

Mr Araya has no connection to the victims and did not have drugs or alcohol in his system, police say.

The case was widely covered in German media, and more than 100,000 euros (£90,000; $120,000) was raised for the boy’s family in the days after the attack.

It also triggered a heated debate about immigration and crime in Germany.

While Mr Araya entered the country legally though Switzerland, where he was granted asylum in 2009, police said he was on the run following a violent incident in Zurich the previous week.

But he was not listed as wanted in European police databases and was able to cross borders freely, police say.

This prompted politicians from the nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party to call for tighter border restrictions. Others called for bolstered security at train stations, and last week a government spokesman said plans to introduce this were currently under review.

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