22 October 2013

Was Beate Zschäpe present at the Nuremberg crime scene?

The trial day began with the testimony of a witness who stated that she had seen Beate Zschäpe on the day of the murder of Ismail Yaşar in Nuremberg in the immediate vicinity of the crime scene. On a playground which was also very close to Yaşar’s kebap shop, she had seen two young men with bikes. Her description of the cyclists closely matches Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Mundlos, in fact, when shown a picture of Mundlos years later, she stated that he looked at least very similar to the man she had seen. Today, eight years after the murder, the witness was unable to remember certain details, and she even declared some parts of the protocol of her first statement to the police to be wrong. However, the witness was very certain as far as the core of her statement, namely that she had seen Zschäpe and the two men, was concerned, and she was also able to explain in detail why she had remembered seeing them.

This testimony alone will not suffice to convict Zschäpe as a co-perpetrator of the murders. However, it is an important piece of evidence, along with others such as the witness from Dortmund who claims to have seen her shortly before the murder in Dortmund or the phone call from a Zwickau call box to the cell phone of the murderers in Munich.

The next witness was the owner of a car rental shop in Zwickau. He stated that Böhnhardt had rented several cars from him over a period of several years. Cars rented include vans for vacations as well as other cars for shorter periods of time. Police investigations had shown that the timing of these rentals coincided with the NSU’s crimes. Böhnhardt had given the name of Holger Gerlach and had presented a driver’s license in that name. Zschäpe had accompanied him several times.

Victims’ counsel for the Yozgat family moved that further investigations be conducted concerning Andreas Temme, officer of the domestic secret service: On a map of Kassel found in the wreckage of the burned down house in the Frühlingsstraße, there had been several marks representing potential targets for attacks. All such targets save one were extremely close to routes Temme routinely traveled on or to places he often visited. This motion shows again that the file of the investigation against Temme needs to be incorporated into this trial’s case file, as requested by victim’s counsel Seda Basay.