Police in Germany have arrested a 20-year-old suspect in connection with the death of a 25-year-old transgender man who was attacked following a Pride parade in Münster, Germany, last month.
The victim, who has only identified in German media by his first name, Malte, had come to the aid of two women harassed with homophobic slurs, including being called “lesbian whores,” by an unknown man after leaving the western German city’s Christopher Street Day event on Aug. 27.
The man then attacked Malte, knocking him to the ground and beating him until he was unconscious.
Malte suffered serious injuries in the attack and was placed in a medically-induced coma, ultimately dying from his injuries on Friday morning, according to Münster police.
Police said they were able to arrest the suspect at the city’s main train station the same day after identifying him based on photos and videos provided by witnesses, reports The Washington Post.
The suspect had been described as between 5’6″ and 5’9″ with a slim frame and a beard, between 18 to 20 years old, wearing flared jeans, a T-shirt, and a bucket hat. He allegedly fled the scene with another male wearing a white T-shirt.
The pro-authoritarian, right-wing commentary and opinion site Remix claims the suspect, identified as Nuradi A., is a migrant and former junior boxing champion from Chechnya, a majority-Muslim region of Russia, who had applied for refugee status but had his request rejected by the German government.
Typically, that means he should have been deported back to Russia, but Germany halted all deportations back to Eastern European countries following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the instability in the region.
While Remix and other right-wing sites, as well as fascist political parties, have been eager to link the Münster attack with other anti-LGBTQ attacks committed by Muslim migrants across Europe, some on social media have speculated that Nuradi may be gay himself, possibly having fled Chechnya due to the ongoing purge of gay and bisexual men there.
A vigil celebrating Malte’s life and condemning anti-trans violence was held in front of Münster’s historic town hall on Friday night, drawing an estimated crowd of 6,500 people.
On Saturday, a judge granted prosecutors’ request to keep Nuradi in detention while he awaits trial. Nuradi has been charged with bodily harm resulting in death.
Politicians and civic groups lamented Malte’s death, with Münster Mayor Markus Lew saying he was “shocked,” saddened, and angered by the assault. He pledged to push for a society that is tolerant, pluralistic, and a safe place for marginalized groups.
“This event shows that it has still not reached everyone that we are an open society, that diversity is a wealth. And that we have to take action against any kind of attacks against people of different sexual orientations,” Lew said, reported German broadcaster WDR.
Sven Lehmann, the German government’s Commissioner for the Acceptance of Sexual and Gender Diversity, issued condolences to Malte’s family and friends on Twitter.
“I’m stunned and sad,” Lehmann tweeted. “Violence against queer people is a threat that we must all stand up to.”
Nach einer Hassattacke beim CSD Münster ist #Malte verstorben. Ich bin fassungslos + traurig. Mein Beileid + tiefes Mitgefühl gilt seinen Angehörigen + Freund*innen. Gewalt gegen queere Menschen ist eine Bedrohung, der wir alle uns entgegen stellen müssen.https://t.co/J5JEWYAelQ
— Sven Lehmann (er/he) (@svenlehmann) September 2, 2022
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