• Germany's news in English
 

NSU trial told neo-Nazi woman 'part of kill squad'

Published: 14 May 2013 14:47 GMT+02:00
Updated: 14 May 2013 21:07 GMT+02:00

Beate Zschäpe, 38, sat silent and motionless as prosecutors accused her of helping plan the hate crimes of the self-styled National Socialist Underground (NSU), covering their tracks, handling finances and providing a safe retreat in their shared home.

When asked to confirm her name, Zschäpe, wearing a grey business blazer, stayed quiet, and her lawyer Wolfgang Heer told the Munich court: "My client will not give any information regarding her person."

Zschäpe was a conspirator in the racially motivated murders in which her two late NSU companions Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Mundlos gunned down their arbitrarily chosen victims "assassination-style", said prosecutor Herbert Diemer.

He accused Zschäpe of having been a "founding member of a cell that fully shared national-socialist and racist ideas and whose only aim was to kill people".

The prosecutor detailed each killing in which the gunmen between 2000 and 2007 allegedly used a Ceska pistol to shoot dead eight ethnic Turks and one Greek business owner across the country and also attacked a police patrol, killing a female police officer.

"The defendant Zschäpe, who took part in the planning and preparations, had the duty during the crimes to routinely create covers for the travel movements of Böhnhardt and Mundlos and to provide a safe refuge" and the "veneer of legality", Diemer told the court.

He charged that the NSU trio, including Zschäpe, also shared responsibility for two bomb attacks targeting Cologne migrant neighbourhoods which wounded at least 23 people, and 15 bank robberies they carried out to finance themselves.

Zschäpe was also accused of arson for torching their shared home in eastern Germany in November 2011 after Böhnhardt and Mundlos died in an apparent murder-suicide while hiding in their getaway vehicle, a rented camper van, after a botched bank robbery.

It was only after the men’s deaths that authorities – who had long suspected immigrant gangsters were behind the shootings – stumbled upon what they now consider a far-right terrorist organisation.

Four male co-defendants had helped the shooters by variously procuring weapons, giving them documents and renting vehicles, said the prosecutor. They have been identified only as Carsten S., Holger G. and Andre E. as well as Ralf Wohlleben.

Earlier in the day, the hearing was dominated by arguments over the way that the hearing should proceed and where.

A co-plaintiff has also demanded that a Christian cross be taken off the wall of the courtroom, citing the separation of Church and state.

One of Zschäpe's lawyers, Heer, demanded that the trial be halted and moved to a larger room than the chamber that has only 100 seats for the public, half of them reserved for journalists. However, the chief judge rejected the request.

An exasperated Diemer had said that "the creativity of the defence appears to be limitless", after the lawyers for the defendants had also on May 6 accused the chief judge of being biased, sparking an eight-day delay.

The hearing – held under tight security, with almost 400 police stationed around the building – is one of Germany's highest-profile trials in decades.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has called the killings a "disgrace" for Germany and apologised to the victims' relatives, some of whom police had initially treated as suspects.

The trial is expected to last about two years.

AFP/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sudeten Germans give up 'right to homeland'
Sudeten Germans practising traditional dance at a gathering in 2014. Photo: DPA

Sudeten Germans give up 'right to homeland'

The Sudeten German Homeland Association has given up its claim to the group's former home in parts of the Czech Republic, quieting one of the final echoes of the Second World War. READ  

Minister draws fire over wage transparency plan
Families Minister Manuela Schwesig. Photo: DPA

Minister draws fire over wage transparency plan

Families Minister Manuela Schwesig confirmed on Sunday that she wants a new law allowing women to compare their wages with men doing similar work, provoking angry reactions from employers. READ  

Police wind down Bremen terror response
Heavily-armed police on patrol outside Bremen cathedral. Photo: DPA

Police wind down Bremen terror response

Police in Bremen said that the risk of a terrorist attack had been reduced in the city after they arrested two suspected arms dealers. The city remains under high alert, with special protection for the Jewish community. READ  

Germany's Schäuble softens Greece tone
Photo: DPA

Germany's Schäuble softens Greece tone

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said Sunday Greece's new hard-left government needs "a bit of time" but is committed to implementing necessary reforms to resolve its debt crisis. READ  

UK Pegida rally dwarfed by counter-demo
Photo: DPA

UK Pegida rally dwarfed by counter-demo

An estimated 375 people turned out for the Germany-based PEGIDA movement's first demonstration in Britain on Saturday, but were outnumbered by a 2,000-strong crowd of counter-protesters, police said. READ  

Greek PM vows to 'start working hard' after vote
Photo: DPA

Greek PM vows to 'start working hard' after vote

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras vowed Friday to "start working hard" to implement vital reforms in the stricken eurozone country, after Germany's parliament approved a four month extension to its bailout. READ  

Ukraine: troop deaths 'serious breach' of truce
Photo: DPA

Ukraine: troop deaths 'serious breach' of truce

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared the killing of three government troops by pro Moscow rebels a "serious breach of the ceasefire", during a telephone call Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, her office said. READ  

Man wins court battle over loud footsteps
Trouble at the top. Photo: DPA

Man wins court battle over loud footsteps

Germany's highest civil court ruled in favour of a man who swapped the carpet in his new apartment for parquet flooring, incurring the wrath of the retired couple who lived below him over his loud footsteps. READ  

Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday
Photo: DPA

Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday

Teachers all over the country are expected to stike starting Monday, German education trade union GEW said, after negotiations with the wage commission of the federal states (TdL) failed to achieve results. READ  

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes
Andre Shepherd at the European Court of Justice in June 2014. Photo: DPA

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes

American soldier Andre Shepherd, who applied for asylum in Germany as a conscientious objector against the war in Iraq after going AWOL from his unit, saw a judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) go against him on Thursday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Germany
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,382
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd