24 June 2013

A first glance into the Özüdoğru murder investigation

After the testimony of accused Schultze ended last week, this week saw the testimony of the first witnesses concerning the murder of Abdurrahim Özüdoğru, who was killed by shots to the head in his Nuremberg tailor shop on 13 June 2001. The questioning of police officers involved in the investigation afforded the parties a first glimpse into the mindset that made it possible for the serial murders of the Nazi NSU to be considered “kebap murders” and for investigations to be directed only against the victims and their environment: While neighbors who testified all described the victim as a very friendly neighbor, the most important detail for a crime scene officer seems to have been the “grown disorder” in the shop and the adjoining apartment. His report in the case file also contains some derogatory statements concerning Turkish people.

A neighbor who in 2012 had testified to the police that she had seen Beate Zschäpe at the crime scene now stated that she was afraid to testify for fear that someone might kill her. Whether her 2012 statement is reliable, or whether the witness fails to differentiate between her recollection of events and information she learned after the fact, can only be determined after looking at the protocol of her 2012 statement. Accordingly, one victim’s counsel moved that it be added to the case file.

There are no direct witnesses for the murder of Abdurrahim Özüdoğru. The killing will however be attributable to the NSU based on the weapon used as well as NSU videos celebrating their deeds.

These claims of responsibility in video form – the infamous “Pink Panther”-Video as well as two earlier versions – were shown today between two witness statements. Reactions among accused ranged from demonstrative disinterest on the part of Beate Zschäpe and her defence to shocked consternation on the part of accused Schultze.

Early during the trial day, victims’ counsel had made a motion to take evidence based on a revelation last week that Zschäpe was in contact via letter with Robin Schmiemann, a violent Nazi. Counsel moved that Schmiemann and a contact person of his be questioned as witnesses. The motion aims at showing concrete contacts between the Nazi scenes in Dortmund and Kassel, two locations of NSU murders, in particular a meeting between on the one hand Nazis from Dortmund and Kassel, including secret service informers, and on the other hand Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt during a Nazi rock concert on 18 March 2006, only weeks before the murders in Dortmund and Kassel.