After a 22-year-old Egyptian student died in Germany in what appeared to be an accident, witness testimonials gave authorities reason to believe there was more to this story.
Shaden Mohamed Al-Gohari was crossing the road in the German city of Cottbus when a car struck her. The driver fled the scene, but Al-Gohari was transported to the hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries, Egyptian Streets reports.
At a glance, this death appears to have occurred due to a hit-and-run accident, but as authorities collected more information from eye-witnesses, they began to wonder whether they should look at the case further to determine whether the victim was also racially abused.
While the driver involved was caught after the accident and then charged with reckless driving and going over the speed limit, witnesses claim that the motorist and passengers broke out in laughter after striking the pedestrian.
“The accident was shocking, but what followed afterwards was cruel,” one witness told German reporters.
Instead of stopping and helping, witnesses say they heard the passengers telling the fallen 22-year-old to “go back” to her country.
They also claim they heard the car occupants add that “in Germany you have to look out on the street,” after hitting the woman.
“Just p*** off back to your country again and you won’t get run over. D*** refugees,” they also allegedly said.
After authorities heard the witnesses' statements, they launched a new investigation to find out whether this death was more than just an accident.
Martina Muench, the minister of Education in the German state of Branderburg, welcomed the probe. She also condemned any demonstration of racism and xenophobia.
“It is unfathomable and appalling that a young, fatally injured woman would be insulted in such a racist and xenophobic way in the middle of Cottbus,” she said.
While it's still early to know for a fact whether this tragic death was part of a more sinister crime, it's good that this story is surfacing and that media exposure will surely help to pressure authorities to dig deeper into this matter.