Court rejects further motions for evidence – and thus refuses to thoroughly clear up the facts
The first witnesses today were two police detectives who had questioned a taxi driver who reported that he had driven Beate Zschäpe from the NSU apartment in Zwickau to the train station in June 2011 – this corresponds with an internet search on Zschäpe’s computer for a train ticket to the town where accused Holger Gerlach lived (see the report of 2 September 2015). They both stated that the witness had reported the facts as laid down in their report – he had driven Zschäpe to the airport in the morning of 16 June 2011, furthermore he had also had Uwe Böhnhardt as a passenger a few weeks earlier. Zschäpe’s defense attorney Stahl attempted to get the witnesses to admit to insufficiencies in their reports, but his attempts were characterized by more excitement than substance. Continue reading
Court denies several motions for evidence
Today, the court first dealt once more with the nail bomb attack in the Keupstraße in Cologne – one victim who had joined the proceedings had so far not testified in court, her lawyer announced that she was in hospital in Turkey. A son of her friend’s, who had been summoned as witness in hopes that he could make additional statements on her exact whereabouts at the time of the explosion, was also unable due to an acute illness. The court did hear a physician from a Cologne hospital, who only vague remembered having treated a female patient with several cuts, she had gone home later that day and had not appeared for further treatment.
Next up was the medical who reported on the danger to the then 16 year old young man who had been shot at during the robbery at a supermarket in Chemnitz in December 1998. The caliber used – 6.35mm Browning – was a rather small pistol caliber, the expert witness related, but in case of hits to the head, neck, torso or other areas of the body, fatal injuries were quite likely. Continue reading
The difficulty of the plains, part II: DNA evidence supports the network theory
Yesterday and today, the court heard the report of an expert witness working for the federal criminal police who reported on DNA evidence found on items seized in the Frühlingsstraße apartment and the mobile home in which Böhnnhardt and Mundlos had died. The expert witness began by detailing the methods used and problems encountered, particularly where there was DNA material from several persons on one item. As to accused Eminger, there is a further issue since he has a twin brother – if, as claimed by the defence, they are identical twins, they also have identical DNA.
Many of the findings he reported on today have already been dealt with in the trial and reported on in this blog: Zschäpe’s DNA found on parts of the NSU’s newspaper archive, Mundlos‘ and Böhnhardt’s DNA found on several weapons. Continue reading
The difficulty of the plains: Dealing with the physical evidence
Today’s court day was rather short, three police officers testified as witnesses:
The first witness, a federal criminal police detective, had dealt with a postcard found in the Frühlingsstraße apartment. This card was sent to the Frühlingsstraße apartment from Dortmund about six months before the murder of Mehmet Kubaşik in that city. The banal text – “Very warm greetings the weather is nice bye” was very likely written by Uwe Böhnhardt. The day the card was sent corresponds with a caravan rental, there is also a list of potential murder victims in Dortmund which was printed out on the next day, with remarks such as “good object, suitable owner.” Apparently, Mundlos and Böhnhardt found time while scouting out potential murder victims to send Zschäpe in Zwickau a postcard showing a baby elephant. Continue reading
On the early development of the „Kameradschaft Jena“
The only witness today was Tom Turner, a co-founder of the “Kameradschaft Jena” with the Trio, Wohlleben, Gerlach and others who had left the group after a few months since the regulations within the Kameradschaft proved too strict for him and he wanted to focus on his Skinhead band instead. Turner had been summoned to testify several times before, but had never appeared; on the last date in question he had submitted a doctor’s note. Today he appeared and gave rather detailed evidence. However, his testimony had to be interrupted in the early afternoon, it will be continued in October.
Turner had, already in his police interview, given rather detailed statements concerning the ideological underpinnings of the “Kameradschaft Jena”, including that Mundlos had been a committed and inexorable national Socialist who never backed down in political arguments, that Böhnhardt had a “thing for weapons” and was prone to violence already back then, and that Beate Zschäpe had “of course” been a member of the Kameradschaft from the start, even if he did not remember any concrete political statements by her. Continue reading
Destroying evidence was yesterday – magical multiplication of the Thuringia secret service case files
The only witness today was Jürgen Zweigert, a former domestic secret service officer from Brandenburg, who was contact officer of informer Marcel Degner a.k.a. “Hail” from 1997 to 2000. Degner, who, until being uncovered in 2000, had been been head of “Blood and Honour” Thuringia and responsible for the finances of B&H Germany, had vehemently denied having worked for the secret service or having received money from them (see the reports of 11 March 2015 and 20 May 2015).
Zweigert today not only confirmed the identity of Marcel Degner as “Hail”, but also stated that Degner had generally provided worthwhile and truthful information and had received several hundred Marks in payment at the weekly meetings. Degner thus should be considered as on the same level as informer Brandt, working at a high level in a Nazi organization (according to the witness today, Degner had done “good work in building up” the structure of B&H) and being paid quite a large amount of money. Continue reading
Nazi witness claims to be ill
The court was unable to continue the questioning of Mario Brehme, as was planned for today, as Brehme has claimed to be ill.
The court instead read out several documents, including letters sent by the Jena “Kameradschaft” to Nazis from Chemnitz when the recipients were in prison.
The trial will continue on 15 September.
Summer break over, and Wohlleben defense counsel tries to attack witness
The first trial day after the summer break was rather unspectacular. The first witness was a taxi driver who, according to the investigation so far, had driven Beate Zschäpe to Zwickau train station early on 16 June 2011, the day she travelled to Haste to pick up a passport from co-accused Gerlach. However, the witness did not remember events the way they were set out in a police report contained in the case file. Today the witness claimed that he had first driven Zschäpe to the train station and had then driven her, Böhnhardt and Mundlos back to the Frühlingsstraße a little while later. It remains to be seen whether the testimony of the police officer who had questioned the taxi driver back then will clear up this issue further.
The court then continued the testimony of a witness who had already testified on 29 April and 20 July 2015. The witness had reported that he had given Uwe Böhnhardt and others a false alibi in a trial in Jena in 1997, which had resulted in an acquittal for Böhnhardt. He had also reported that Zschäpe and Wohlleben had also been involved in that crime. Continue reading