Germany: Security guards go on trial for alleged refugee abuse

Journalist (German): «Next question — what do you feel about the fact that it's you who has been accused in the end?» Defendant (German): «It's an exaggeration. I cannot say more than that.» Journalist (German): «May I ask how old are you and how long have you worked there and when?» Defendant (German): «I've been working there for two months — from August until October. And I'm 33 years old... Еще.» At least 29 former employees of a refugee shelter sat on the defendants' bench in a court in Siegen on Thursday, facing charges of abuse and mistreatment of refugees. According to reports, the majority of the defendants were security guards at the shelter in Buerbach, next to Siegen. They are accused of locking the refugees in so-called “problem rooms,” where they abused, threatened and coerced them for allegedly breaking house rules. Reports claim that the defendants also documented the acts with photographs and videos. In one photo that emerged, a security guard was seen posing with his boot on the neck of a handcuffed refugee who was lying on the floor. «There will be approximately one hearing per week until May 2019. However, it's highly possible that in total the proceeding will run for a year,» said Sebastian Merk, spokesperson of the Regional Court Siegen. The official noted that the penalty range reaches from fines to five-year imprisonment. «Of course, it's a large spectrum. And it depends on each defendant individually,» he added.

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