Five people arrested for allegedly ‘enslaving’ German teens

A German man and four others were arrested in Romania for allegedly holding troubled German teenagers like slaves, officials said Thursday.

Five people arrested for allegedly 'enslaving' German teens
Archive photo shows police siren. Photo: DPA

A judge ordered the five to be detained for 30 days, the German's lawyer loan Sas told AFP.

The man, who founded a programme for adolescents with problems, is “accused of creating an organized criminal group, human trafficking and sequestration”, he said.

“There is no proof against him,” Sas said, adding the centre continued to operate.

The man's German wife and two others, who were also involved with the programme, have been placed under judicial control and will have to report to police while investigations are on, prosecutors said.

The “Projekt Maramures”, financed by the German state, was licensed by Romania's labour ministry, according to investigators.

A German foreign ministry spokeswoman has said her country had not been aware of any problem in the past 20 years.

But Romanian prosecutors allege children aged 12 to 18 were detained in “slavery-like conditions”, forced to “do exhausting physical labour”.

They were treated in “humiliating and degrading” ways on a farm and in numerous households in the Maramures county village of Viseu de Sus.

The teens were beaten, deprived of food, not allowed to study or take prescription medicines, had no contact with the outside world and were targets of “harsh and brutal methods of so-called re-education”, they said.

A total of 20 children were in the centre when prosecutors searched it on Tuesday, together with seven in other houses, according to the local child protection agency.

Four of the children are now in the care of social services, waiting for their parents or legal guardian.

“The others are still in the centre, which continues to function normally,” Sas told AFP.

Abuse allegations surrounding the programme have surfaced in Romanian media in the past, but no action had been taken until now.

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Man sentenced to five years for deadly attack at German pride parade

A German court handed a man a five-year juvenile detention sentence Wednesday over the death of a trans man he attacked at a pride march, in a case that caused a national outcry.

Man sentenced to five years for deadly attack at German pride parade

The tribunal in the western city of Münster convicted the defendant, whose name was not released due to his age, of “assault resulting in the death” of the 25-year-old victim identified as Malte C., court spokesman Henning Barton told AFP.

As well as the five-year sentence, the judges ordered “his placement in a drug rehabilitation centre”, Barton said.

The 20-year-old had shouted homophobic insults and threats at several people attending an LGBTQ pride march in Münster in August 2022.

Malte C. had placed himself between the assailant and the group with the aim of protecting them, at which point the attacker became more aggressive.

He punched Malte C. in the face, causing him to fall to the ground and hit the back of his head on the ground. He underwent emergency surgery that night for a traumatic brain injury and was placed in an induced coma.

The 25-year-old died in hospital a few days later.

The case sparked anger across Germany, with LGBTQ groups calling for more decisive action against homophobic and anti-trans violence.

Rights organisations and religious leaders organised a public funeral for Malte C. in October which was attended by several local officials including police chief Alexandra Dorndorf, who posted a photograph on Twitter of herself
at the ceremony holding a rainbow flag in solidarity with the queer community.