Tuesday the court will focus mostly on the video with which the NSU claimed responsibility for its crimes. Wednesday morning will be devoted to the testimony of Reiner Görlitz, officer of the domestic secret service of Brandenburg and contact officer of Carsten Szczepanski. It seems likely that Görlitz will continue in his attempts at masquerades instead of telling the truth (see the reports of 1 July 2015 and 29 July 2015). Wednesday afternoon and Thursday are devoted to witnesses concerning the NSU’s robberies.
Update 1 Mach 2016:
The trial day on Tuesday has been cancelled, on Wednesday the trial will start at noon. Thus the court will only hear witnesses concerning the bank robberies this week.
Wohlleben to remain in detention (unsurprisingly), and: additional trial days until January 2017.
Today the court was to hear two witnesses concerning robberies of post offices conducted by the NSU in October of 1999.
First, however, the trial was again interrupted upon motion by the Wohlleben defense. The court had decided yesterday that Wohlleben is to remain in detention as there remains a “strong suspicion” against him even after his statements in court, as the court found his claims that he had not known what Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe would do with the gun provided by him and Schultze to be unbelievable. A well-reasoned decision which of course also means that Wohlleben is facing a conviction – reason enough for the defense to again challenge all judges for alleged bias. Continue reading
On the NSU’s arsenal of weapons
As was to be expected, the challenges for alleged bias brought by the defense last week were declared without merit since a „less than felicitous phrasing“ in the decision of last Thursday does not prove the existence of bias.
The court heard another gun expert from the federal criminal police, who presented all guns found by the police – two machine pistols, two pumpguns, more than a dozen pistols and revolvers – and explained their functioning.
Finally, the court again rejected motions for evidence brought by victims’ counsel. Thus it rejected the motion to view the videos “Kriegsberichter” of the international “Blood & Honour” movement, containing graphic incitements to murder (see the report of 22 October 2015) – according to the court, the content of these videos, which circulated within the neo-Nazi scene including that in Jena, is without relevance to the judgment of the court. Continue reading
On the bank robberies and on the Ceska murder weapon
The first witnesses today concerned the robbery of a credit union in Zwickau in October of 2006, mostly on the injuries suffered by the young man who had been shot. The surgeons who operated on him reported on his injuries, which led to internal bleeding and an injury to his spleen which resulted in its removal. It was only by chance that the projectile did not also injure the large intestine. Expert witness Dr. Peschel considered this injury to be potentially life-threatening, reporting that there is still a danger of complications arising from the loss of the spleen.
Further evidence on the NSU’s robberies.
Today the court was to hear further witnesses on the bank robbery in October 2006. However, before they could be called, the trial was interrupted for some time as the Wohlleben defense wanted to challenge all judges for alleged bias. This challenge is, like many before it, obviously without merit: towards the end of one of its decisions denying motions for evidence by victims’ counsel, the court had not used the phrase “the crimes the accused are charged with”, but instead used “the crimes of the accused” – an infelicitous phrasing, but obviously no sign for a pre-judgment on the guilt of the accused. Continue reading
Further evidence on the NSU’s robberies.
Today the court began with the consideration of the evidence on a robbery in a credit union in Chemnitz in October 2006. Contrary to the other robberies, this one was carried out by only one perpetrator, according to the indictment by Uwe Böhnhardt. As with other robberies, he was very brutal, taking a portable ventilator and hitting a bank teller on the head with it and shooting a trainee teller, who had tried to stop the attack, in the stomach.
The first witness was that trainee, who reported in a very matter-of-fact manner on the way the crime unfolded and on the results for himself: He suffered from both physical and mental health problems, was unable to continue his traineeship in the credit union, was on sick leave for a long time. He then began a different traineeship, but is still limited in his ability to work in his new job. Continue reading
On the criminal scene surrounding the Jena Nazi scene: „The only aim of arming ourselves was to stop the advance of gangs of foreigners”
Today the court only heard one witness, who from 1992 to 2000 had been member of an organized gang of criminals in Jena, according to him “one of the leading gangs in Thuringia” and active in dealing with drugs and guns, prostitution etc. There is evidence that they had contacts to, on the one hand, Böhnhardt, Mundlos, Wohlleben and Schultze, on the other hand to Enrico Theile and Hans Ulrich Müller, who according to the indictment were part of the chain of custody of the Ceska pistol used by the NSU. The presiding judge has summoned several members of the group in order to find out more about the chain of custody of the gun and in order to exclude the possibility of other avenues for buying guns. Continue reading
A rare day without a challenge for alleged bias
Today, the trial was once more interrupted very early upon motion of the Wohlleben defense, who announced their intention to challenge the presiding judge and another member of the bench for alleged bias. However, it seems that the defense realized that such a challenge would invite ridicule – after the break, they stated that they would not bring such challenges after all.
The court then continued the questioning of witness Mario Brehme (on his earlier court appearances see the reports of 15 July 2015 and 14 October 2015). Last time, he had been asked whether he had worked for a secret service agency as an informer. The court had in the meantime asked all secret service agencies whether Brehme had worked for them, which all of them had denied. Therefore Brehme’s appearance today only lasted a few minutes and did not provide him another opportunity for Nazi propaganda. Continue reading
Challenge for alleged bias brought by the Zschäpe defense, and questioning of Zschäpe
The trial day began with an announcement by the presiding judge that Zschäpe defense counsel Grasel had brought a challenge for alleged bias against presiding judge Götzl over the weekend, after Götzl had denied the latest motion to relieve Zschäpes old defense counsel Heer, Stahl and Sturm of their duties.
Since the reasons for the several such motions throughout the proceedings remain more or less the same, a short comment on these issues is sufficient: Götzl’s decision is based on the facts that Heer, Stahl and Sturm remain willing and able to defend Zschäpe and that the breakdown of communication within the defense is due to Zschäpe herself refusing to communicate with counsel. This is legally correct and does not show any bias on Götzl’s part, meaning that this challenge for alleged bias, too, is bound to fail.