17 May 2017

Final motions for evidence

Today marked the final day of the deadline set by the court for motions for evidence – and several such motions were in deed made.

Zschäpe counsel Grasel moved that the court consider the minutes of the statement Zschäpe’s mother had made to the police. On her first appearance in court, her mother had refused to testify in court and had also withheld her content to the court using her earlier statement. However, after expert witness Bauer had referred to that statement in his opinion, she has now given that consent. As it was not made quite explicit whether she still refuses to testify in person, the court has summoned her as a witness for next week – it does seem likely, though, that she will refuse to testify and only confirm that she consents to her police statement being used. The court has also summoned one of the police officers who had questioned her so that he may introduce that statement. 

The other Zschäpe defense counsel moved that the court appoint another expert witness concerning Zschäpe’s mental state, claiming that Prof. Faustmann’s opinion had shown severe shortcomings in the expert opinion of Prof. Saß. We have already explained [link] yesterday why this motion will fail.

Victims’ counsel moved that the secret service case files of former “Blood and Honour” Germany chief Stefan Lange, a.k.a. Pinocchio, be made part of the case file. As a witness in court, Lange had denied having been an informer – but yesterday, newspapers and TV stations reported that he had worked in that position for the federal domestic secret service for several years and had reported extensively on the (former) Blood and Honour scene. Given his high-level position in Blood and Honour and his close friendship with direct supporters such as Jan Werner, it seems highly likely that Lange also reported details concerning the NSU core trio, details which again had not been passed on by the secret service to the police.

The Wohlleben defense brought a motion that Lange and other persons be called as witnesses in support of their thesis that Blood and Honour Saxony had not only been solely responsible for the radicalization of the NSU core trio, but that it had also been them (and not Wohlleben) who provided the NSU with the Ceska murder weapon – thus rehashing two claims which have not at all convinced the court thus far.

One interesting detail: presenting one of the defense motions, counsel Nicole Schneiders read out a list of several secret service informers immediately surrounding the NSU in Thuringia and Saxony – and included in that list Ronny Artmann from Thuringia, who had thus far not been publicly referred to as an informer. From 1998 to 2001, Artmann was active in the “Thuringia Home Guard” and the “Young National Democrats” in Jena, which also brought him in contact with Schneiders, who at the time was studying law in Jena. He was also one of the closest confidants of accused Schultze – but nonetheless was not questioned by the police until February of 2013 and not even named as a contact person of an accused in the indictment.