20 July 2016

Marcel Degner and his witness counsel

The trial day today was another short one. The only witness was – once again – the former chief of Blood and Honour Thuringia, Marcel Degner. He was again questioned about his activities as an informer for the Thuringia domestic secret service, which contact officers had clearly confirmed, but Degner had denied until the end (see the report of 29 June 2016).

Today Degner stated that he wanted to “revise” his earlier statement concerning his working as an informer and refuse to answer, relying on the privilege against self-incrimination. He was told several times that it was either one – revise the earlier statement and make a different one (e.g. “I was an informer after all”) or refuse to answer the question –, but that both at once was not possible. His witness counsel was similarly informed, without however doing anything to change this strategy – leading to a motion brought by the defense and joined in by the federal prosecution that the witness counsel be exchanged for a colleague more versed in this legal field.

At this point, Degner was sent home for the day, he will have to come to Munich once more, again accompanied by a witness counsel – it remains to be seen whether or not this will be the same counsel as today.

Remarkably, the federal prosecution even stated that Degner could legally refuse to answer even questions on other issues dealt with in his earlier statements as he might also have committed perjury in respect of these issues – if this legal opinion were followed by the court, it would of course make it even more difficult to get to the bottom of the factual issues in these proceedings.

Victims’ counsel made another motion for evidence concerning the racist and xenophobic ideology of Ralf Wohlleben. This motion concerns several documents found on his computer as well as Nazi rock songs containing dehumanizing and denigrating statements concerning inter alia Turkish, Black and Jewish people.