When Maryam H. disappeared in the summer of 2021, many things quickly pointed to a crime. The target is two of her brothers, who probably can’t stand the fact that their sister decides their own lives. She is now the subject of a murder trial.

Two Afghan brothers are said to have brutally murdered their older sister and transported the body across Germany in a trolley suitcase by train. The verdict against the two men aged 23 and 27 is now expected in the Berlin district court.

The 34-year-old Maryam H. was initially missing in July 2021, but many things quickly pointed to a crime. Her brothers Yousuf and Mahdi H. came under suspicion. Among other things, mobile phone data and video recordings of the Berlin Südkreuz train station, which showed how the brothers heaved a large suitcase into an ICE, led the investigators to them. On July 23, they found the woman’s body buried in Bavaria. A little later the brothers were taken into custody.

Prosecutors accuse them of having murdered their sister together on July 13. More than six months later, the trial against the two begins before the Berlin district court. After a long silence, 27-year-old Yousuf confesses to killing his sister in September 2022. However, he describes this as an accident and states that he acted alone.

Prosecutor Antonia Ernst, on the other hand, sticks to her accusation. She is demanding life imprisonment for the joint murder of Maryam. The men are said to have lured the mother of two into the apartment of one of the two brothers in the Neukölln district of Berlin and strangled her with a cloth. According to the autopsy, they also cut her throat.

After the crime, the brothers took the woman’s body in a trolley case by taxi to the Südkreuz train station, from where they took their horrible freight by train to Bavaria. According to Ernst, they “buried” the body near where the other brother lived.

During the trial, the woman’s children reported that the brothers had already used violence against their mother before the crime. “We were afraid of them,” said the 14-year-old son in an interview that was recorded and played at the trial. You would have “slaved your mother after her divorce”. His sister, who is four years younger, also reported that both of their uncles “beat and put pressure” on their mother.

For the prosecutor, it was murder for base motives: Maryam wanted her own apartment and was looking for a new partner herself. Her brothers wouldn’t have allowed her that. You would have wanted to “punish your sister and remove her from the family” by killing her, Ernst said in her plea in January.

The defense presented the case very differently: It was “a tragic accident,” says Michael Stopp, Yousuf’s lawyer. A dispute escalated. He sees the killing as bodily harm resulting in death and is requesting a prison sentence of up to five years. The defense is demanding an acquittal for the 23-year-old Mahdi. Participation in the crime could not be proven.