Habte Araya, 40, appeared in a campaign to promote integration (Picture: CEN/ Schweizerischen Arbeiterhilfswerks/ AP)
A man accused of killing an eight-year-old boy by pushing him under a train in Frankfurt was featured in a campaign to promote successful integration.
Habte Araya, 40, originally from Eritrea but living in Switzerland, was arrested after he allegedly shoved the child and his mother, 40, onto the tracks of platform seven at Frankfurt Central Station.
The father-of-three is also accused of pushing another woman, 78, who managed to stop herself from falling in front of the incoming ICE train.
He then fled the scene, but was stopped by other passengers who held him until he was arrested.
In 2017, Araya was pictured in an advertising brochure from the Swiss Workers Relief Agency and quoted as saying he liked ‘almost everything about Switzerland’.
He continued: ‘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.’
Araya worked as a building fitter for the Swiss Workers Relief Agency, where his colleagues described him as ‘reserved and a bit shy’. He currently lives in Weadenswil, a municipality in the district of Horgen in the canton of Zurich in Switzerland. Police have been unable to find Araya’s motive for allegedly pushing the boy.
The boy was killed when instantly when a high-speed ICE train, travelling from Dusseldorf to Munich, pulled into the station just moments after he landed on the tracks. His mother survived the incident by rolling herself into a footpath in between the tracks.
Local media reports that several people who witnessed the incident were treated for shock. Flowers, teddies, candles and cards have been left on the platform and a memorial for the boy was held last night. Araya faces one charge of murder as well as two charges of attempted murder.
Police spokeswoman Isabell Neumann said: ‘According to witness reports, a 40-year-old man pushed the boy and his mother onto the track just as the ICE (train) was arriving. ‘The mother, thank God, was able to save herself. Unfortunately, the eight-year-old boy was run over by the ICE. He suffered fatal injuries. ‘The man concerned fled the station after the crime. Passers-by took up the chase and the man was detained near the station.’