Germany to compensate kin for neo-Nazi trial delay

Germany to compensate kin for neo-Nazi trial delay

MUNICH - Agence France-Presse
Germany to compensate kin for neo-Nazi trial delay

view taken on April 12 shows journalists visiting the courtroom of the Regional Court of Munich where the trial against the sole survivor of the far-right militants NSU and four other alleged neo-Nazi accomplices will take place. The start of the most high-profile neo-Nazi murder trial of the post-war period in Germany has been delayed from this week until early May. AFP photo

German authorities pledged April 16 to help offset additional costs incurred by the families of immigrant murder victims from the postponement of the trial of a suspected neo-Nazi killer cell.

The justice minister of the southern state of Bavaria, Beate Merk, said she regretted the delay's impact on the relatives after a Munich court said the trial's start would be pushed back from Wednesday to May 6.

"The important thing for me now is that the victims and their families are sufficiently informed and that they are also offered help with the financial consequences of the decision," she said.

Many of the relatives planning to attend the trial were coming from other regions of Germany or from abroad and had made costly arrangements for travel and accommodation.

Beate Zschaepe, believed to be the last surviving member of a far-right gang known as the National Socialist Underground (NSU) accused of killing eight ethnic Turks, a Greek man and a German policewoman between 2000 and 2007, is to stand trial with four alleged accomplices.

The court April 15 postponed the start of proceedings after announcing an overhaul of disputed rules on media access.

The presiding judge in the case had assigned guaranteed seats at the hearings on a first-come, first-served basis, resulting in German reporters taking nearly all 50 of the reserved places and most international media outlets having no reliable access to the courtroom.

After a lawsuit by Turkish newspaper Sabah, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled last week that the Munich tribunal must set aside at least three seats for Turkish or Greek reporters.

A court spokeswoman said Tuesday the presiding judge had not yet decided when to resume the media registration process or according to which criteria. Meanwhile a lawyer for Zschaepe, Anja Sturm, stressed that her client had no plans to testify during the trial, in an interview with public television.