Neo-Nazi Trial: Excrement Smeared on Lawyer's Office Door
Excrement and urine have been splattered on the Munich office of a lawyer representing plaintiffs in Germany's biggest neo-Nazi trial. Police suspect far-right extremists were behind the incident, just one of several apparently intended to intimidate anti-racist and immigrant groups as the trial gets underway.
Since the landmark trial of neo-Nazi Beate Zschäpe began this month, a number of anti-extremist groups have been the target of far-right attacks, a media report said on Friday. Only now, the attempts at intimidation have taken a decidedly unsavory new tone, with right-wing extremists suspected of smearing a lawyer's office with fecal matter and urine.
The door of the Munich office, which belongs to a lawyer representing family members of a victim of the neo-Nazi terrorist cell, the National Socialist Underground (NSU), was "extensively" daubed with excrement and urine on Monday morning, according to daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.
"It is unlikely that this is a coincidence," the paper wrote.
A housing project in Westend -- the same district of the Bavarian capital where the NSU committed one of its 10 alleged murders -- and the office of refugee counselling service were among other places to have been vandalized a total of seven times with things like neo-Nazi slogans and eggings, the paper said. The latest incident occurred on Thursday night, when the home of anti-racist activists was pelted with paint bombs.
Police suspect that right-wing extremists are behind the attacks, but are not currently investigating any individuals. "They want us to feel unsafe," one of the activists told the paper. "We won't allow ourselves to be intimidated."
The NSU trial, the biggest Germany has seen in decades, has sharpened the focus on the problem of neo-Nazi activity in the country. Beate Zschäpe, the last surviving member of the terrorist cell, is alleged to have helped form the neo-Nazi group with Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt, who both committed suicide after a botched bank robbery in November 2011. Zschäpe was allegedly complicit in the racially motivated killing of eight men of Turkish descent, one Greek man and a German policewoman between 2000 and 2007. She also allegedly took part in orchestrating a 2004 bomb attack that injured 22 in a district of Cologne in which many Turks live.
Four alleged accomplices are on trial with Zschäpe, who faces a possible life sentence.
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Charge: complicity in 10 homicides, two bomb attacks and 15 armed robberies, membership in a terrorist organization, attempted murder and arson
Pre-trial detention: since November 8, 2011
NSU links: Zschäpe is believed to be a founding member of the NSU terror cell. According to the federal prosecutor's office, she and the group's two other members, Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Mundlos -- both of whom are deceased -- held roles of equal importance within the cell. It is believed that Zschäpe did not carry out any murders herself, but was indispensable to the NSU group. According to the prosecution, Zschäpe helped to create a veneer of normalcy for the terror cell. She was in charge of logistics, served as accountant and rented vehicles for the group. In addition, she archived articles discussing the crimes of the terror cell and allegedly was involved in procuring a weapon and false documents. Finally, the 37-year-old is believed to have set fire to the apartment that had served as the final hiding place for the trio and to have sent out DVDs in which the group claimed responsibility for the crimes.
Charge: accessory to murder in nine cases
Pre-trial detention: since November 29, 2011
NSU links: Wohlleben, born in 1975, allegedly helped the terror trio financially when they went into hiding in 1998 and provided them with money later. In late 1999 or early 2000, Wohlleben, a former functionary of the far-right NPD party, allegedly helped the group acquire a handgun and ammunition with the aid of a courier. The semi-automatic Ceska 83 was identified as the murder weapon in nine cases of homicide involving small business owners and employees of foreign descent.
Charge: support of a terrorist organization in three cases
Pre-trial detention: November 13, 2011 until May 25, 2012
NSU links: Holger G., born in 1974, is believed to have been in contact with the terror trio since the late 1990s. He allegedly gave over his drivers' license, a health insurance card and his passport to the NSU, enabling its members to act covertly and commit racially motivated crimes. He also transported a weapon for the terrorists. G. confessed his crimes in a comprehensive statement to the investigators.
Charge: accessory to murder in nine cases
Pre-trial detention: February 1 until May 29, 2012
NSU links: Carsten S. -- allegedly with money from Ralf Wohlleben -- bought the weapon that killed nine small business owners and employees. The 32-year-old also delivered the handgun to the terror cell in Chemnitz. S. has acknowledged his involvement in a comprehensive confession to the federal prosecutor's office.
Charge: support of a terrorist organization, complicity in a bomb attack and accessory to robbery
Pre-trial detention: November 23, 2011 until June 14, 2012
NSU links: The trained stonemason allegedly assisted the terror cell starting in the 1990s, helping them with car rentals and the lease for an apartment. The 33-year-old and his wife allegedly visited the NSU-members regularly, and E. allowed Zschäpe to pose as his wife in 2006.