12 May 2016

On gun deals in Jena, and additional platitudes from Beate Zschäpe

Today the court first heard a federal criminal police officer who had questioned a member of the criminal scene in Jena. That person had, when questioned in Munich, relied on the privilege against self-incrimination (see our reports of 16 February 2016, 13 April 2016 and 28 April 2016). The officer reported that when questioned by him, the witness had stated that “Müller from Apolda” was one of the gun providers for his scene in the early 2000s – it is known that Swiss national Hans-Ulrich Müller, who was identified as the buyer of the Ceska murder weapon, lived in Apolda for some time.

The witness had also reported on the cooperation of those in the criminal scene who saw themselves as Nazis with the political Nazi scene. He even thought there might have been a meeting between Böhnhardt and Mundlos on the one hand and the leaders of his gang on the other, probably concerning a “loan”. This testimony, again, did not lead to any concrete reasons to believe that the Ceska murder weapon was provided by anybody else than the persons already identified, including Müller and then Schultze and Wohlleben.

Zschäpe defense counsel Borchert then read out further answers to the presiding judge’s questions of 5 and 19 April 2016. These answers, like all statements before them, don’t come across as relating lived experience, but totally constructed, without any concrete statements on the everyday life or on social elements of what happened. Susan and André Eminger are not mentioned at all. Zschäpe is still playing dumb and refusing to incriminate any of her “comrades”.

Leading in to the two week break, the court has shown how it plans to conduct the trial from now on – above all, it has shown that it has fully joined the federal prosecution in refusing to shine any light on the involvement of the secret service. Nonetheless, the court does not seem to be trying to bring the trial to an end soon, instead conducting it at half-speed at the most. What’s more, there are still quite a number of witnesses to question and of documents to consider.