21 to 23 June 2016

No trial days during the week of 20 June 2016

The trial days on 21 to 23 June 2016 have been cancelled due to a judge
having fallen ill. The trial is scheduled to continue on Tuesday, 28
June 2016.

16 June 2016

Witness “Görlitz” once again presents good reasons to abolish the domestic secret service.

Today the court once again heard witness “Reinhard Görlitz”, who in his earlier statements in court had already shown that the domestic secret service is simply trying at all costs to keep secret its role in the context of the NSU and that no method of refusing to answer questions is too brazen or too embarrassing (see the report of 1 July 2015, 29 July 2015 and 2 March 2016).

Today, the witness again claimed not to remember anything. Above all, he claimed not to know anything about a meeting between the secret service agencies of Brandenburg, Thuringia and Saxony discussing what to do about the information on Zschäpe, Mundlos and Böhnhardt given by Szczpanski. Just like his earlier statements, this claim not to remember is hardly believable: for one, this way highly significant information – had it been provided to the police, the NSU members could have been arrested and the Ceska murder series and other crimes been prevented. In addition, Görlitz was Szczepanski’s contact officer and thus would have had to be informed about anything that could plausibly present a threat to Szczepanski – including whether or not information given by him was passed on to the police.

15 June 2016

„What about the bang“ – and what about witness memories?

The only witness today was a criminal police detective from Berlin who was to testify about a telephone surveillance conducted, in the context of the investigation into Nazi band “Landser”, against Blood and Honour leader Jan Werner from Chemnitz in 1998-2001. On 25 August 1998, Werner had send a text message “What about the bang?” to a cell phone belonging to secret service informer Carsten Szczepanski. This indicates that Werner was tasked with buying a gun for Zschäpe, Mundlos and Böhnhardt and trying to enlist Szczepanski’s help, and thus also that there was an opening to effect an arrest of the three who had gone underground – a chance the Brandenburg secret service chose not to use (see the report of 15 March 2016). Continue reading

8 June 2016

Once more on the early statements of Carsten Schultze

Today the court once more dealt with the early statements of Carsten Schultze after the NSU had uncovered itself in 2011.

First expert witness Prof. Leygraf reported once more – he was tasked with psychiatric investigations on which the court will base its decisions whether Schultze – aged 19 or 20 at the time of the acts he is charged with – will be tried as a juvenile under German criminal law. Leygraf reported on the statements Schultze had made vis-à-vis him. His impression of Schultze’s reports on his own activities in the Nazi scene is quite similar to that of many among victims’ counsel: according to Leygraf, Schultze had focused on that time as a time of experiences, leaving out the political content: “he represented that time more as a time of boy scout romanticism.” Continue reading

7 June 2016

Another failed attempt by the Wohlleben defense – further testimony by secret service informer Tino Brandt

The court only heard one witness today, former “Thuringia Homeguard” leader and secret service informer Tino Brandt. Brandt had already testified over several days in 2014 (see the reports of 15 July 2014, 16 July 2014, 23 September 2014 and 24 September 2014). He was recalled as witness upon a motion by the Wohlleben defense in order to testify on where the money for the murder weapon Ceska had come from.

The defense is trying to raise doubts concerning the statement by accused Carsten Schultze that he had received that money from Ralf Wohlleben. How exactly it hoped to achieve this through the testimony of Brandt, who is everything but believable, is unclear. And in fact his testimony did not reveal anything relevant: Continue reading

2 June 2016

Victims’ counsel demand that the court clear up of the facts – Protest against its rejection of motions for evidence “at all costs”

Today’s trial day was marked above all by several motions for reconsideration against the court’s rejection of central motions for evidence throughout the last months.

But first, the court heard two police detectives concerning the financial situation of Ralf Wohlleben as well as early police interviews of accused Schultze – their testimony did not uncover any relevant new issues.

Thereafter, victims’ counsel presented several extensive motions for reconsideration against the rejection of central motions for evidence. These concern text messages sent from NSU supporter Thomas Starke’s phone number, several case files at the federal domestic secret service which had been destroyed on 11 November 2011 and later reconstructed (see the report of 3 August 2015), informer Ralf Marschner from Zwickau (see the reports of 20 April 2016 and 11 May 2016) as well as files concerning former informer Szczepanski, who had reported on plans by Blood and Honour Chemnitz to provide weapons to the NSU (see the report of 2 March 2016 on the latest appearance of his contact officer in court). Continue reading

1 June 2016

On the early statements of Carsten Schultze

Today the court heard only one witness, a federal criminal police detective who had been involved in the first police interview of accused Carsten Schultze. In that interview, Schultze – trying visibly to “dig up” the long-suppressed memories of his activities in the Nazi scene – had already related the purchase of the Ceska pistol in pretty much the same way as he did later in court. Above all, his statements on the role of Wohlleben has always been the same: Wohlleben had sent him to the proprietor of the scene shop “Madley’s”, saying “go to Schultz”, and Schultz had indeed sold him the pistol.

Schultze also tried already in that interview to downplay his own role and his co-responsibility for the NSU’s crimes. Inter alia, he claimed that he had not ordered the silencer and that he had not given any thought on the uses to which the pistol would be put.

Unsurprisingly given that Schultze massively incrimates Wohlleben, the Wohlleben defense tried to question the witness in a confrontational manner and to lead her into contradictory statements. They were, however, unsuccessful – the witness showed an embarrising lapse when she misremembered the legal instruction given to Schultze (she remembered that he had been instructed as a witness, when the minutes of the interview show that he was correctly instructed as an accused), but the defense was unable to raise any doubts on the substantive issues.

31 May 2016

On Böhnhardt’s, Zschäpe’s and Mundlos’ vacation after the Keupstraße bombing attack

Today the court heard three witness concerning the vacation in Northern Germany which Böhnhardt, Zschäpe and Mundlos took in the summer of 2004, only weeks after the nail bomb attack in the Keupstraße in Cologne. Zschäpe had claimed in court that things had become frosty between her and the two men after they told her of the attack, but vacation photos found in the Frühlingsstraße apartment show all three in a very relaxed and happy mood. Today the court heard the owner of a camping site and two police officers who had considered the documents concerning this vacation.

12 May 2016

On gun deals in Jena, and additional platitudes from Beate Zschäpe

Today the court first heard a federal criminal police officer who had questioned a member of the criminal scene in Jena. That person had, when questioned in Munich, relied on the privilege against self-incrimination (see our reports of 16 February 2016, 13 April 2016 and 28 April 2016). The officer reported that when questioned by him, the witness had stated that “Müller from Apolda” was one of the gun providers for his scene in the early 2000s – it is known that Swiss national Hans-Ulrich Müller, who was identified as the buyer of the Ceska murder weapon, lived in Apolda for some time.

The witness had also reported on the cooperation of those in the criminal scene who saw themselves as Nazis with the political Nazi scene. Continue reading

11 May 2016

The court continues to kill time and to refuse to clear up the facts

Today the court first read out several documents

It then considered pictures of a vacation that Zschäpe, Mundlos and Böhnhardt had taken in 2004, shortly after the bombing attack in the Keupstraße in Cologne. These show all three in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere – a marked contrast to Zschäpe’s claims that her relationship to the two men had become particularly strained after they told her about the attack in Cologne.

Continue reading