German Court Rejects Bias Charge in Neo-Nazi Trial

Trial Is One of Most Highly Anticipated in Years

By Reuters

Published May 10, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A German court rejected on Friday an accusation of bias from a defendant in a case involving neo-Nazi racist murders, removing a potential legal hurdle to resumption of the trial.

The trial of Beate Zschaepe and four others opened last Monday in Munich but was quickly adjourned after defence lawyers delivered motions accusing chief judge Manfred Goetzl of bias. The proceeding is due to resume next Tuesday.

The trial, one of Germany’s most anticipated in decades, had already suffered delay before the accusations of judicial bias due to a dispute over media coverage of the case.

A lawyer for Ralf Wohlleben, one of the defendants, told Reuters the court had rejected his motion alleging bias. Among other issues, Wohlleben had complained that, unlike Zschaepe, he had been denied a third court-appointed lawyer for the trial.

A court spokeswoman declined to comment on Wohlleben’s motion but confirmed that the court had still to decide on a second complaint, filed by Zschaepe, alleging bias.

Zschaepe, 38, is accused of helping to found the neo-Nazi cell, the National Socialist Underground (NSU), and of complicity in the murders of 10 people, mostly ethnic Turks, from 2000 to 2007.

Wohlleben and three other men face lesser charges of assisting the NSU.

“I expect Zschaepe’s motion will also be rejected as groundless,” Mehmet Guercan, lawyer for the families of two of the murder victims, told Spiegel Online.

“I hope that we can finally begin the real trial next week with the reading out of the indictment,” he said.

The murders by the far-right cell went undetected for more than a decade. They came to light only by chance in late 2011, shocking Germans and exposing deep lapses in the country’s intelligence establishment.

Zschaepe, whose two presumed male accomplices in the killing spree committed suicide in 2011, faces life imprisonment if found guilty.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.