Trial days on 1 and 2 December cancelled.
The trial days next week have been cancelled due to illness of one of
The trial will continue on 8 December 2015 – according to the announcement of her defense attorneys, this will be the day that the statement of accused Zschäpe will be read out.
On the ideology and network structure of „Blood & Honour“
The only witness called for today, a “comrade” of the accused in their times in Jena, did not appear – he had called the court and claimed to have suffered car troubles.
The court thus only read out several pages from the 1996 edition of the fanzine “Blood & Honour”, following a motion by victims’ counsel of 11 May 2015. The ‘zine contained articles propagating an armed struggle in the context of “leaderless resistance”, as well as song texts calling for the killing of immigrants, including by “shooting them in the head”. Reports from concerts show the close network between B&H Germany and the NSU-supporters of B&H Saxony. The contact address given is that of B&H Denmark, whose member Marcel Schilf inter alia marketed the “Kriegsberichter” videos.
On Holger Gerlach’s ideology
Today the court again dealt with a rather slim program:
Based on a motion by victims’ counsel of 28 October 2015, the court heard testimony from two police detectives concerning the contents of a cellphone and a computer found in Gerlach’s home during a search in 2011.
The cellphone contained an invitation from another Nazi visit a “Hammerskin” concert together, a racist SMS sent from Gerlach (“Only shit is brown, and so are Niggers”), as well as several Nazi-pictures and songs, including songs from “Stahlgewitter” and from “Gigi and the Brown Musicians”, who had also published the song “Döner killer” glorifying the NSU. Among the contacts saved was the number of Nazi cadre Thorsten Heise. The computer contained pictures of the “press festival” of the “Deutsche Stimme” (“German voice”), the newspaper affiliated with the Nazi party NPD, as well as music from several neo-Nazi bands. Continue reading
Waiting for the accused
The challenge brought by the Wohlleben defense for alleged bias was rejected yesterday – as was to be expected. The court was thus free to continue the trial today – and continued to kill time.
In the morning, it heard two federal police detectives who detailed notes of the NSU’s scouting out potential targets in several cities. Of course, their testimony did not lead to more detailed findings than simply looking at the notes themselves would have – but it did take 1 1/2 hours so that the court could break for lunch afterwards.
After the lunch break, the court listened to the prosecution’s statement concerning motions for evidence brought by victims’ counsel on 28 October 2015 (the gist of that statement: reject (almost) all of them, it is of no relevance to our proceedings if others surrounding the NSU maybe built up other terrorist groups), rejected the motion brought by Zschäpe’s assigned counsel on 10 November 2015 to be relieved, gave a very short notice on what the court had known about alleged victim “Meral Keskin” and refused a more detailed statement. Having finished a hard day’s work, the court concluded the trial day at 1:51 pm.
Given the list of witnesses for the next weeks, it seems likely that the court will continue conducting such a half-hearted trial until 8 December 2015, the date for which Zschäpe’s statement has been announced. It seems that the court has high hopes for this statement. Given the evidence so far, which has fully confirmed the indictment, this is surprising. The court is in danger of furthering Zschäpe’s self-perception as the person who decides on the future course of the trial against her.
Court continues taking evidence very slowly
The court continued the trial today – like in the last weeks, it only dealt with a very limited program. One cannot shake the impression that the court is simply trying to somehow fill the time until the statement by Zschäpe – which has now been announced for the week of 7 December 2015.
Two federal criminal police detectives testified on further notes resulting from the NSU spying out potential victims, this time in Nuremberg and in several cities in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony. Again, they found markings for potential victims of racist and anti-Semitic attacks, as well offices of the Social Democratic and Christian Democratic parties, members of parliament and, again, gun shops. (see the report of 21 October 2015).
Trial days on 17 and 18 November 2015 have been canceled.
The court has canceled trial days on 17 and 18 November since the judges who are called upon to decide on the challenge for alleged bias brought by the Wohlleben defense need additional time due to other commitments.
On 19 November 2015, the court will hear three federal criminal police detectives concerning the notes found in the Frühlingsstraße apartment showing the NSU scouting out potential victims as well as on Zschäpe’s finger prints which were found on a collection of newspaper clipping concerning the NSU’s crimes, also found in the Frühlingsstraße.
Challenges by the Wohlleben defense for alleged bias.
After a long interruption of the trial, the Wohlleben defense brought ist challenges for alleged bias against all judges. Interestingly, this challenge again was not simply based on the court’s failing to inform the parties about the announcement that Zschäpe would make a statement. Instead, attorneys Schneiders, Nahrath and Klemke first repeated at great length their earlier motions concerning the allegedly insufficient defense of Zschäpe and the court decisions rejecting those motions (see the reports of 8 October 2015, 13 October 2015 and 14 October 2015). At the time of those decisions, the court had already known that Zschäpe would make statement and had not told Heer, Stahl and Sturm, but the court had not stated this fact in its decisions. Thus the court had, in the eyes of the Wohlleben defense, “accepted” that procedural activities by Heer, Stahl and Sturm would be in opposition to the defense strategy of Grasel, this in order to receive Zschäpe’s statement “no matter what the cost”.
Official announcement by presiding judge Götzl that Zschäpe will make a statement – defense attorney asked to be relieved of their duties, Wohlleben announces challenge for alleged bias
The trial day began with an announcement by the presiding judge confirming what the press had reported yesterday: Zschäpe defense attorney Grasel has announced to the court that Zschäpe would make a statement on the charges against her tomorrow. A senior partner from his law office had already made such an announcement to the court on 31 August 2015, since then there had been several discussions concerning the date on which the statement was to be made. Nonetheless, the presiding judge did not inform the parties to the trial until today.
Asked by a victim’s counsel whether Zschäpe would answer questions, Grasel stated that questions by the court will be answered while questions by victims’ counsel will not.