Onlookers 'encouraged' Somali boy's fatal jump in Germany

Negotiators tried for an hour to persuade the teenage refugee to move back while neighbours booed and encouraged him to commit suicide.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Sven Schrade, the town’s mayor, said that authorities received information that some onlookers encouraged the boy to take the leap. Officers were called to this apartment building in Schmoelln on October 21, 2016.

German police are probing whether a 17-year-old refugee boy from Somalia committed suicide after being encouraged by onlookers to jump off a building in the eastern town of Schmoelln.

For an hour negotiators tried to persuade the teenager to move back while neighbours booed and encouraged the boy to kill himself, media sources reported. “One less parasite then!” yelled one racist. “Go on, jump!” yelled others.

Germany welcomed 800,000 refugees into the country last year, sparking criticism from some segments of society against the move.

Sven Schrade, the town’s mayor, said that authorities received information that some onlookers encouraged the boy to take the leap.

"We have received information that some onlookers who observed the incident for a while called out 'Jump, already,'" Mayor Sven Schrade was quoted as saying by Duetsche Welle.

“One can only condemn such sentiments,” he said. “Before he was a refugee or a Somali, he was a human being.”

Police on Friday reportedly received a call from social workers complaining of violence at a facility for unaccompanied youth refugees. Upon arrival at the scene, the police found the boy sitting on the ledge of a window on the fifth floor of the building.

All efforts to convince the boy to get back failed and he jumped to his death with the mobile phone cameras of the racists filming the fall, the Daily Mail reported.

However, authorities investigating the incident said on Sunday that they have found no such evidence that suggested the onlookers encouraged the teenager to jump.

The investigators said the police and firefighters who had witnessed the incident denied hearing anything that encouraged the boy to take his own life.

"We didn't hear anybody yelling or anything similar," a spokesperson for the Thüringen state police was quoted as saying.

Police further said that an interpreter was present at the scene and the boy hardly knew any German to understand any encouragement to jump off the building.

Psychiatric treatment

The police said the Somali boy, who had been in Schmoelln since April, had undergone a week-long psychiatric treatment for depression at a nearby clinic before returning to the facility on Friday.

Most of the refugees have arrived in Germany from conflict-hit parts of the world and have suffered some kind of trauma during their journey to Europe.

Although there is a growing realisation that incoming refugees should be given mental health checks, their presence in large numbers has made it a challenging task for Germany.

TRTWorld and agencies