The Eritrean man who allegedly pushed an eight-year-old boy under a train in Frankfurt had previously been featured in campaign promoting successful integration.
Habte Araya, 40, originally from Eritrea but living in Switzerland, has been arrested for bushing a boy and his mother under a train but has yet to speak out about a possible motive for the crime, which occurred on Monday.
Now it has emerged that the suspect, who lives in Weadenswil, a municipality in the district of Horgen in the canton of Zurich in Switzerland, was celebrated as a ‘prime example’ of successful integration.
In 2017, he was even pictured in an advertising brochure from the Swiss Workers Relief Agency (Schweizerischen Arbeiterhilfswerks) as an example of successful integration, according to local media.
He gave an interview at the time saying that “he liked almost everything about Switzerland,” adding: “When I first came communication was difficult because of the language. But that is no longer the case. I like the fact that everyone is helped here regardless of whether they are rich or poor.
“I want a better and easier life for my children than I had.”
Employees at the Swiss Workers Relief Agency where he worked as a building fitter described Araya in local media as “reserved and a bit shy”.
He was described as a hard worker, not somebody who stands around talking and wasting time and they said he was “reliable”.
Araya arrived in Switzerland in 2006 and applied for asylum status which he was granted in 2008.
Witnesses described how Araya, a married father-of-three children aged one, three and four, pushed the boy and his mother deliberately onto the train tracks at Frankfurt Station located in Frankfurt, a metropolis and the largest city of the German federal state of Hesse, before running away and also trying to push a third person onto the tracks.
Whilst the mother, 40, survived the incident after she was able to roll away from the tracks the boy could not be saved and died at the scene.
He reportedly told prosecutors that he had “taken the train from Basel, Switzerland to Germany” but has not said anything else yet.
A 78-year-old woman was also injured by the man on the shoulder as he allegedly tried to push her onto the tracks, but failed.
Flowers, teddy bears and tributes have been left on the platform in Frankfurt in memory of the boy.
Araya faces one charge of murder as well as two charges of attempted murder.
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