Honour killing story

Katrin Reemtsma
born 1958
stabbed to death: 9 June 1997
Residence: Berlin
Origin: Victim: Germany; Perpetrator: Yugoslavia / Roma
Children: 2 (3 and 5 years old at the time of the crime)
Perpetrator: her partner Asmet S. (40 years old at the time of the crime)
This is an honor killing from 1997. At that time it was almost impossible to talk about honor killings in Germany. The case is therefore quite unknown, although the victim comes from a large German industrialist family.

Katrin Reemtsma studies ethnology and is an advocate for ethnic minorities, especially Roma. She holds many honorary positions in this field, works as an activist and as an ethnological expert for asylum procedures.

Around 1990, Roma Asmet from Serbia (or Bosnia) / Yugoslavia comes to Germany as a refugee, with his wife and 2 children.

Katrin and Asmet become a couple and have a daughter and a son, who are currently of preschool age. As a result of the two children, Asmet receives a residence permit. In less than a year, Katrin transfers almost 200,000 marks to the unemployed Asmet. The whereabouts of the money are unknown to this day. One can assume that the Reemtsma family is considered incredibly wealthy among the Roma.

Asmet's ex-family returns to Yugoslavia. The son from the former Roma marriage probably also lives temporarily in the flat Katrin bought in Berlin-Friedenau in 1991.

On June 9, Asmet stabs his partner to death with a 32 cm kitchen knife. In October, the trial begins before the district court in Berlin. Neighbors report that the perpetrator was always calm and kind, that the marriage was harmonious. It is quite possible that this corresponded to the politically correct reading at the time. For in the activist world, the subject of Sinti and Roma violence against women is taboo. Witnesses want to force journalists not to mention the origin of the perpetrator. Germany 1997.

It is therefore possible that the relationship has always been violent. Both the children's nanny and Katrin's brother say they know nothing about the relationship. Katrin would not have said anything, questions were laughed away. Perhaps she could not say it because otherwise her whole life's work would be questioned.

Also in October 1997, Asmet was sentenced to 12 years in prison for manslaughter. It is unknown if he was deported during his imprisonment.

What is an honour killing?

An honour killing is a murder in the name of honour. If a brother murders his sister to restore family honour, it is an honour killing. According to activists, the most common reasons for honour killings are as the victim:

Questions about honour killings

  • refuses to cooperate in an arranged marriage.

  • wants to end the relationship.

  • was the victim of rape or sexual assault.

  • was accused of having a sexual relationship outside of marriage.

Human rights activists believe that 100,000 honour killings are carried out every year, most of which are not reported to the authorities and some are even deliberately covered up by the authorities themselves, for example because the perpetrators are good friends with local policemen, officials or politicians. Violence against girls and women remains a serious problem in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Serbia and Turkey.

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