Monthly Archives: August 2013

6 August 2013

“For me personally, by 2005 it was clear that there was a xenophobic background. No one in the investigating group ‘Bosporus’ really had any doubts on this question.”

This clear statement, made during the trial on 6 August by Manfred Hänßler, the chief of the murder unit of Nuremberg police, stands in clear contrast to the way the investigating group ‘Bosporus’ conducted its investigation until 2011. Whether his statement is true, or whether it is an attempt to conceal his mistakes, is a question that will have to be answered by the testimony of further investigators.

Of course, given the evidence heard on the last trial day before the summer break, a racist background to the murder of Nuremberg kebap shop owner Ismail Yasar all but suggested itself. Hänßler reported that the there had been two main leads: one was the so-called bike lead – several witness had seen two bicyclists directly in front of the kebap shop and heard shots very close in time to those sightings. The other was the so-called Cologne lead given similarities between the descriptions of bicyclists in Nuremberg and the two suspects in Cologne – one of the investigators from Cologne had contacted the Nuremberg police. The connection thus arising between the nail bomb attack in the Keupstraße in Cologne, inhabited mostly by Turkish and Kurdish people, and the murder series against migrants left little doubt that there was a xenophobic motive.

Hänßler reported that the Nuremberg police had also investigated the militant Nazi scene. However, the Bavarian “Office for the Protection of the Constitution” hat not provided them with the data requested, but only with a selection of some 600 data sets concerning Nazis from around Nuremberg. The witness was unable to discuss the reason why investigators had not received the material requested or to answer the question whether the Federal “Office for the Protection of the Constitution” or the equivalent offices in other federal Länder had been included at this point. He referred to a colleague who had conducted this aspect of the investigation.

A number of questions are raised by the fact that the police continued to conduct investigations against the victims’ families from 2005 to 2011, and that they failed to conduct adequate investigations concerning the militant Nazi scene, while according to the witness no investigator had any doubts as to a xenophobic motivation of these crimes. It remains to be seen whether these questions will be allowed during the trial.

Another police officer testified that possible targets of attacks, among them the kebap shop of Ismail Yasar, had been marked in city maps and on computers found in the remains of the burned NSU flat in the Frühlingsstraße in Zwickau. Given this evidence as well as the NSU video in which the group claimed responsibility for the murder of Yasar, establishing that this was an NSU murder should prove to be easy enough.

The next trial days after the summer break will take place on 5 and 6 September.

1 August 2013

The Nuremberg saw “no concrete clues” for a racist motivation of the murders

Besides a first witness in the Turgut murder case, whose testimony did not bring significant enlightenment, the head detective of the Nuremberg police in the Simsek and Özüdogru murder cases testified today. The investigation headed by him had not at all considered a possible racist motivation for the crime, especially in the Simsek case it had instead focused above all on Simsek’s family and its environment. Accordingly, harsh criticism from victims’ counsel was to be expected. Two family members of Enver Simsek followed the proceedings from the court room.

The witness still seemed to be focussed on the supposed reasons for suspicion against Simsek and his surroundings – it was only upon questioning by the presiding judge that he also said some words on the personality and personal life of the murder victim. The idea that a racist motivation might be behind the murders was not seriously followed over the years – there simply had not been any concrete the leads, the witness claimed in court.

The questions of counsel for the Simsek family focused above all on the determination that all clues and all investigations directed against the family had proven wrong. The witness will be called again to testify on later parts of the investigation; it is to be expected that further questions will follow then.

Questions by the defence did not contribute much to the proceedings. The Wohlleben defence asked the witness what percentage of murders were committed by relatives or partners of the victim – roughly 60 to 70 per cent, according to the witness. Victim’s counsel Narin proved the absurdity of this question by asking the witness what percentage of serial murders were committed by relatives or partners – none that he knew of, the witness answered. Of course, it was directly after the Özüdogro murder, and thus at the beginning of an investigation lasting years, that the police considered the crimes as serial murders.