9 January 2018

Closing statements on the murder of Enver Şimşek begin

The trial day began with the closing statement of counsel Goldbach, who represents victims of the nail bomb attack in the Keupstraße. He began by speaking about his clients, their dashed hopes of fact-finding through the trial. He also stated that his clients, like others, had not allowed the NSU to force them out of Germany, are currently living normal and content lives here.

Goldbach than turned to the accused and showed why he believes that accused Wohlleben and Eminger are guilty of aiding and abetting the Keupstraße attack. Of course, none of this will be provable given the sloppy investigations not only before, but also after 2011.

Goldbach’s position on Zschäpe differs from that of many others in the trial: he sees her as someone with clear political positions, but otherwise as rather weak, always molding herself to her current environment. In this context, Goldbach sharply criticized Zschäpe’s new defense counsel Grasel and Borchert for their strategy of making totally unbelievable statements on behalf of Zschäpe.

Goldbach was followed by the moving and impressive closing statement of counsel Seda Basay-Yildiz, who represents the widow of Enver Şimşek, victim of the NSU’s first murder. Her client Adile Şimşek and their son Abdulkerim were present in the courtroom, as were Yvonne Boulgarides, widow of NSU murder victim Theodoros Boulgarides from Munich, and her daughters, whose counsel Yavuz Narin is also scheduled to make his closing statement this week.

Seda Basay first detailed the life of Enver Şimşek and his family prior to the murder  – the parents meeting in a village in Turkey, their decision to move to Germany, where Şimşek first worked in a factory and then built up a florist’s shop, the long hours of work, their decision to return to Turkey:

“Enver Şimşek intended to slowly give up the florist’s shop in Germany and to return to Turkey with his family. He wanted to go back to his homeland, had already built a plain house for himself and his family in the village where he was born and had grown up, with a view of the mountains in a beautiful countryside, in a place where everyone knows each other.

They did not have to murder him in order to “secure the future of the German Nation.” He would have returned in any event. Even his dead body did not stay here, but was buried in the village, not far from the house which he had built and where he wished to live. […]

Enver Şimşek would be 56 years old today. There are many beautiful moments in his life which he missed. The house in Salur stands empty today. Who would live there? There are just too many memories. His things are still stacked in the cupboards, as if he were to return any moment. The florist’s shop was given up after his murder. […]

The family’s decision to bury their father and husband in Turkey was right. In Germany, even the simple plaque at the scene of his murder is constantly being smeared with Swastikas.“

Counsel Basay next turned to the police investigations. In her very detailed examination of these investigations, with many direct quotes from the case files, she showed very convincingly the massive and frankly absurd methods of the police trying to prove motives from Şimşek’s family background or links to organized crime: This began with the police trying to keep Adile Şimşek from visiting her dying husband in hospital and found its climax when the police simply invented a woman Şimşek was supposedly having an affair with, even showing witnesses the picture of a woman who had no connection to the case at all. Basay’s detailed examination also showed very convincingly the extent of the suffering these investigations caused the family.

Seda Basay also detailed the clear evidence pointing towards “German” perpetrators – including testimony of eye witnesses who very likely had witnessed the period immediately prior to or after the murder, it not the crime itself –, evidence which was not followed up on at all.

In her conclusion, she once again summed up the problem of institutional racism which victims’ counsel had referred to time and again in the trial:

“The murder squads investigating the murders of the Ceska series were based in various Länder with diverse historical backgrounds and legal traditions. Nonetheless, they all behaved identically in one essential aspect: they followed every hint concerning alleged connections of the victims to organized crime or to each other, no matter how far-fetched and absurd, sparing no expense or effort. On the other hand, they did not follow up statements by witnesses who had seen “German-looking” potential suspects and/or bicyclists, and despite the many statements by family members, in no case did they even seriously consider a racist motive and start investigations in this direction. 

In this trial, like elsewhere, this police work has often been defended by claiming that the reason the police had not looked for neo-Nazis as perpetrators was simply that there had not been any evidence pointing to a right-wing motive. But then neither was there any evidence pointing towards Enver Şimşek having been unfaithful to his wife and her having sent two contract killers, and nonetheless this avenue of investigation was followed with a lot of energy and with horrible consequences for the family.

The fact that the police apparatus was willing to imagine that all victims had had contacts to organized crime or that their wives had them killed out of jealousy, but did not consider the possibility of a racist motive at all, has something to do with where the victims came from.

The police apparatus was ruled by prejudices to such an extent that only investigative avenues concerning organized crime were followed up while a racist motive was unthinkable. 

Once more: this does not say anything about the motives of the individual police officers involved in the investigation. This is about racism which shows itself in processes, attitudes and courses of action which, through unconscious prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotypes lead to discrimination disadvantaging persons – in this case the family members of Enver Şimşek and of the other victims of the Ceska series.”

Seda Basay was sadly unable to finish her statement today and will have to do so tomorrow – the trial day today ended shortly after noon since accused Wohlleben complained of back pains. Wohlleben’s defense counsel Schneiders was absent for parts of the trial day and was substituted by her former office partner Steffen Hammer. Hammer’s voice had already been heard in the court room in Munich: At the beginning of the trial, the court had played the early versions of the NSU video – which was underlaid with music from Nazi band “Noie Werte” (“New Values”). The lead singer of “Noie Werte”: Steffen Hammer.