Duisburg prosecutors investigate 16 over Love Parade deaths

Duisburg prosecutors have announced they are investigating 16 people in connection with Love Parade stampede that killed 21 and injured hundreds more last July.

Duisburg prosecutors investigate 16 over Love Parade deaths
Photo: DPA

Among the suspects are Duisburg city officials, event organiser Lopavent employees and police officers, the prosecutor’s office announced late on Tuesday.

Duisburg Mayor Adolf Sauerland and Lopavent owner Rainer Schaller, who have been implicated in previous media reports, were not among the targets of the investigation.

Potential charges against the suspects are manslaughter and negligence for their alleged part in the deaths of 21 young people crushed to death at the techno music festival on July 24, 2010.

The tragedy occurred after a massive crowd of revellers were herded through a narrow tunnel and the build-up of pressure sparked a panic that led to a deadly crush. More than 500 people were injured, many of them severely.

The city of Duisburg said it was a “normal and expected step” for its officials to be investigated, but that it would protect its employees.

Duisburg Mayor Sauerland said he would also stand behind the officials, adding that he was convinced that “we all acted according to our best knowledge and violated none of our official duties.”

Meanwhile North Rhine-Westphalia Interior Minister Ralf Jäger said those responsible for the tragedy must be investigated and prosecuted.

“But punishment alone doesn’t go far enough,” he said. “It is at least as important for us to reach the right conclusions from the Love Parade for large events in the future.”

In the six months since the accident prosecutors and police have interviewed more than 2,200 witnesses, along with reviewing thousands of photos and surveillance videos.

A spokesperson said he could not rule out the investigation of further suspects as the their probe continues.


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Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.