Leaked report on neo-Nazi terrorism confirms suspicions – DW – 04/11/2022

On November 4, 2011, Beate Zschäpe turned herself in to the police, discovering a terrorist group to which she herself belonged and which had called itself National Socialist Underground (NSU).

It was sparked by the alleged suicide of his friends Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Mundlos shortly before police could arrest them as they hid, armed, inside a caravan in eastern Europe. ‘Germany.

Zschäpe then sent a confession video to the media in which the NSU bragged about his crimes. Over a period of seven years, the trio was responsible for 10 racially motivated murders, as well as bombings in which many people were seriously injured.

Parliamentary inquiries show moderate success

In 2018, Zschäpe was sentenced to life in prison after a five-year criminal trial at the Higher Regional Court in Munich. Why the NSU remained unknown for more than a decade has been a question posed by several parliamentary committees of inquiry. This question has yet to be fully answered, in part because the relevant Secret Service files remain under lock and key.

Screenshot of the Frag den Staat website
The internet portal ‘Frag den Staat’ (Ask the State) leaked the reportPicture: Fragdenstaat

NSU survivors and loved ones of those murdered have long expressed outrage and disappointment at the decision. During the trial against Zschäpe, little was revealed about what Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, knew about the Nazi group that murdered people across Germany. The suspicion remains that the agency concealed NSU accomplices among its informants, or even within its own ranks.

But that secrecy has now been partially lifted, as internet freedom of information portal FragDenStaat (“Ask the State”) and television satirist Jan Böhmermann published a report last week from the branch of the Hessian state intelligence agency, much to Gamze’s satisfaction. Kubasik, whose father Mehmet was shot dead in Dortmund in April 2006.

“The Intelligence Agency Has Failed”

After seeing the leaked 173 pages, Kubaşik wonders why the report, written in 2014, should have been kept secret for 30 years? Originally, this was even set at 120 years. What she can glean from the newly revealed dossier sounds very familiar to Gamze Kubașik: “The Office for the Protection of the Constitution failed. It massively underestimated the neo-Nazis at the time, as is now,” she wrote in a statement released by her. lawyer.

Informants from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution had supported the Nazis with their money and opportunities instead of fighting them. “All of this is nothing new,” Kubasik noted. Nonetheless, she says, the report just released is important “because it shows that the Offices of the Protection of the Constitution have visibly seen their terrible error of judgement.”

German Constitutional Court
German Constitutional Court rules in favor of NSU accompliceImage: Uli Deck/dpa/picture alliance

NSU files would have disappeared

According to the report, at least 200 files related to the NSU could not be found. Gamze Kubașik in doubt: How is it that something that could lead directly to the National Socialist underground and the work of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Hesse “just disappears”? She is happy to see any elucidation of events. For the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, however, the leaked report is an unexpected blow, against which it has now filed a criminal complaint.

Meanwhile, the domestic intelligence service was forced to suffer another setback. Thanks to a decision by the German Constitutional Court, in future the data that the agency has secretly collected on individuals can only be passed on to the police and prosecutors in exceptional cases. This court decision, published on November 3, is also linked to the NSU: the complaint was filed by a man who had been sentenced to a three-year juvenile sentence for complicity in murder in the trial against the terrorist group. .

He felt that his fundamental right to informational self-determination had been violated by the practice of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and successfully filed a constitutional complaint.

Although the court endorsed “the legitimate aim of protecting the existence and security of the state and the life, physical integrity and freedom of the population,” it also insisted on proportionality. Therefore, in order to hand over secretly collected data to a law enforcement agency, there must be a well-founded suspicion “for which concrete circumstances…exist”.

According to the court’s verdict, this condition had not yet been met in the case of the NSU accomplice at the time the information was transmitted.

This article was originally published in German.

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