Victims’ families slam German court’s ‘light sentences’ in NSU case
MUNICH - Anadolu Agency
The families of neo-Nazi murder victims slammed what they called “light sentences” handed down to far-right extremists by a German court, accusing authorities of trying to cover up the unresolved killings of Turkish immigrants.
The National Socialist Underground (NSU) was formed by three right-wing extremists — Uwe Mundlos, Uwe Bohnhardt and Beate Zschaepe — who were on the run and have lived under fake identities since 1998.
The group killed eight Turkish immigrants, a Greek citizen, and a German policewoman between 2000 and 2007, but the murders remained long unsolved.
Munich’s Higher Regional Court sentenced Zschaepe to life in prison over membership in the NSU group and complicity in the murders of 10 people and two bomb attacks.
But the other four suspects were given light sentences.
İsmail Yozgat and his wife Ayşe Yozgat, whose 21-year-old son was killed by the NSU in 2006, appeared devastated when they left the courthouse on July 11.
“We do not accept this ruling,” İsmail Yozgat told reporters, heavily criticizing the court for not carrying a deeper investigation.
Yozgat said former intelligence officer Andreas Temme was at the scene when his son İsmail Yozgat was killed, but the court did not seriously investigate Temme’s possible role.
He also accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel for not honoring her promise to uncover all the facts about NSU murders.
Gamze Kubaşık, the daughter of Mehmet Kubaşık who was killed by the NSU in 2006, welcomed the life sentence for chief suspect Zschaepe, but criticized the shorter sentences for other neo-Nazis.
“I am extremely disappointed and extremely sad about the lighter sentences for the NSU’s supporters Andre Emminger and Ralf Wohlleben,” she told reporters.
The Munich court announced two years and six months for Emminger, who rented caravans for the group which were used during the murders in 2000-2007.
The prosecutors had demanded a 12-year sentence.
Several far-right extremists in the courtroom cheered and applauded the ruling, which enabled his early release.
Two other suspects — Holger G. and Carsten S. — who admitted providing support to the group in the past and cooperated with the police, also got lighter sentences.
Ralf Wohlleben, a main supporter of the NSU who was charged with providing the gun used in the murders, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, two years less than what prosecutors sought.
Mehmet Daimagüler, a senior lawyer representing victims of the fascist group, also slammed the court’s decision.
“Today is a good day for the Nazis,” he tweeted, after the court announced its verdict.