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Mentally ill Iraqi asylum seeker beaten, tied to tree by German vigilantes

Police allowed attackers to leave scene, with politician saying vigilantes 'showed courage'
Screenshot from video shows Iraqi man being attacked by at least four men (YouTube)

Vigilantes in Germany dragged an Iraqi asylum seeker with mental health problems out of a supermarket and tied him to a tree on Wednesday.

Video of the incident shows the young asylum seeker standing by a cash register, holding a wine bottle behind his back before he is pounced on by a group of vigilantes; it has sparked mass controversy in Germany

Police who arrived on the scene at the supermarket in Arnsdorf in Saxony, told the gang to leave without questioning them, German news site Der Spiegel reported. However, the group have since been identified after footage of the incident went viral on Thursday.

In the video, the a group of at least four men - three of them wearing black shirts - are seen to grab the Iraqi man by the collar and attempt to force him out of the shop.

When he tries to resist, he is set upon by the four men who punch him, shouting: “Get him out of here!”

The asylum seeker is heard shouting, "Leave me alone" and "What do you want with me?"

A security alarm is heard to go off but a man who appears to be the shop security guard does not intervene, nor do any of the other customers.

As the man is bundled out of the shop, a female shopper is heard saying: “Isn’t it a shame that we need a citizen’s defence group?”

What happened next was not caught on camera, but police who were called to the scene by the vigilantes said they found the young man - a patient at a local psychiatric hospital - tied to a tree with cable ties.

The asylum seeker had been in the shop for the third time that day to complain about top-up credit on his phone not working, and had reportedly threatened two female staff members.

The incident has sparked debate in Germany, after Detlef Oelsner, a local politician from Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democratic Union, said the vigilantes had “shown courage”.