23 September 2013

On the murder of Süleyman Taşköprü – „God help us“

The trial day began with the testimony of a Hamburg police detective. The victim’s father had described to him two German men whom he had seen exiting the shop. The day after the murder, a Nuremberg police detective had called the witness and reported on the murders in Nuremberg. One day later, it had been established that the murder in Hamburg was committed using the same murder weapon that had been used in Nuremberg. The witness stated that during the entire investigation, he had not heard from the police State Security Division (the police division investigating crimes with a political background) or the Hamburg “Office for the Protection of the Constitution” (domestic secret service). He claimed that despite the connection to Nuremberg, there had been no leads towards the extreme right, that there had been no basis for investigations in that direction given the lack of a clear description of the suspects.

This is a clear example of the type of institutional racism that has marred the investigations from the get-go. On the one hand, the police spent considerable energy investigating vague hints concerning alleged involvement of the murder victims with “foreign” criminal groups; on the other hand it did not even begin an investigation into the possibility of Nazi perpetrators even though a racist motive was a likely explanation given a series of murders against immigrant men. This was clearly no mere glitch, but a conscious decision. Trying to explain this decision by referring to the lack of an exact description of the perpetrators does, to put it mildly, show a lack of awareness of the problem – does that mean that in case of crimes possibly motivated by racist bias, the German police only investigates against neo-Nazis if they are presented on a silver platter?

A pathologist testifying as an expert witness described the gunshot wounds – the victim was shot in the head once from a caliber 7.65 weapon, the caliber of the Ceska pistol, two shots of the smaller caliber 6.35 had been fired into the back of his head.

Süleyman Taşköprü’s father described the dramatic consequences of the murder for the entire family, above all for the victim’s daughter. He had found his gravely injured son in his shop.

An additional witness corroborated his statement. She had heard Taşköprü’s father call out “God help us” and had entered the shop. A reporter had arrived at the same time as the police; medics had been the last to arrive. The reporter took photographs and behaved in such a disrespectful manner that the witness had thrown eggs at him. The result was that the witness – not the intrusive journalist – was sent home by the police.