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Ministry calls lawyers' demands for Kunduz bombing victims unrealistic

The Local · 15 Mar 2010, 16:19

Published: 15 Mar 2010 16:19 GMT+01:00

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Bremen lawyers Karim Popal and Bernhard Docke have not only asked for the millions in compensation for the victims, but also for some €180,000 in legal fees and another €25,000 for their travel expenses in the case, news magazine Der Spiegel reported on Monday.

Ministry insiders told the magazine that the sums have “left the realm of seriousness,” and there is talk of conducting a relief project instead.

Some 142 people were killed in the controversial September 4, 2009 air strike ordered by German Col. Georg Klein. The bombardment in the northern Afghanistan region of Kunduz was meant to destroy two fuel tankers that had been hijacked from NATO forces by the Taliban. But many of the dead turned out to be civilians, and the incident, which led to an alleged cover-up within in the Defence Ministry, is currently under review by a parliamentary inquiry.

According to Der Spiegel, Popal, who was born in Afghanistan but practices law in Germany, sought out information on the case through an aid organisation and started representing victims in the case.

Popal and Docke have said that the €7 million would be used for aid projects spanning several years, but the ministry reportedly already put €150,000 towards winter aid following the bombing and has only expressed an interest in compensation that is "customary" to Afghanistan.

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Docke refused to comment on the case directly, but told the magazine that the lawyers’ demands were proportionate to the harm caused and are “nothing sensational.”

And while one German paper named Popal the “angel of the victims” after he travelled to Afghanistan to help following the bombing, Der Spiegel reported that several experts in the field of military victims’ compensation in Berlin and Frankfurt have since cut ties with the lawyer because of dubious business practices.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

19:23 March 15, 2010 by Major B
After the initial "hooplah" over the "poor" victims now there is balking at the outrageous demands that inevitably given the way the government blew this way out of proportion. About time now for another Taliban "test of resolve" near Kunduz. Bundeswehr are you ready?
19:51 March 15, 2010 by schnauzer
Interesting, isn´t? At first Mr. Guttenberg commended the Kunduz disaster as quote "reasonable measure", than he had to retract from this heinous assessment, but needed a scapegoat to sacrifice for his fault and blamed the highest german General for not informing him correctly. And now, as he probably is shitting bricks before his testimony in the investigation committee of the Bundestag inquiring into this disaster, he again rectracts from his retraction and now claims that the General didn´t withhold information. Wow what a paragon in credibility!! Looking forward to the testimony where the baron probably will retract from the rectraction of the retraction...
20:20 March 15, 2010 by Edmond Schindler
"where the baron probably will retract from the rectraction of the retraction... "

Isn't this much 'rectraction' (your misspelling closely resembles rectal-action) going to constipate the whole process of digesting the truth in the end. Many puns intended.
20:28 March 15, 2010 by dbert4
Those people that died were killed, "at the scene of a crime". They should have chosen better friends to have hungout with......ooops!
20:51 March 15, 2010 by schnauzer
Edmond Schindler! Great, witty and funny pun you discovererd!! But unfortunately I did not intentionally do that, kinda typo.
10:54 March 16, 2010 by AirForceGuy
Since it was actually an American plane and bomb that really did the damage, why don't we get the U.S. to pay the bill? I'm kidding of course, but haven't the lawyers thought of shifting the blame and expense away from the Germans in true legal fashion?
15:42 March 16, 2010 by dbert4
"but haven't the lawyers thought of shifting the blame and expense away from the Germans in true legal fashion? "

That would be true AMERICAN legal fashion. You're not in Kansas anymore Toto!
16:07 March 16, 2010 by Henckel
I think the irony is that there is no assurance that the victims/targets of the Luftangriff (airstrike) were not Taliban members or sympathizers.
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