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Short reports: November 2001

30.11.2001: 40th day in court

What the BKA understands as investigation

In front of a rather meagre visitor's presence, BKA officers today had to answer questions in front of the court. The three officers were Helmut Hause, the leading officer during the raid and arrest of Axel H. on 19.12.1999, his colleague Boris Bischoff as well as Sven van Elkan, who was responsible for the examination of the confiscated items found during the search.

Central to the interrogation of Hause and Bischoff was the clarification of which items were found in which rooms. At the time, not only Axel H.'s flat was searched but also one storage room and common rooms which were on the same floor. The investigating officers found a type machine in the storage room on which letters by Axel were typed and one letter, signed "Anton" (according to Mousli this is Axel H.'s code name) was written, such was the result of a carbon strip analysis. Both could not explain why the BKA searched the room at the time, and what indications there were for the room to be allocated to Axel H. However, they had to admit that the storage room was open for general access and they found the room open at the time of the search.

The criminal police examination of the confiscated items which were found during the searches of the flat from 23.11 and 19.11.1999, took place under BKA officer van Elkan. He ordered the crime technical examination of the carbon strip. He was also responsible for the examination of the confiscated notebooks and other personal notes. The fact that neither comparative analyses of handwriting, nor time specific allocations, which could have shed light on the date of the notes, took place, reflects on the quality of the investigations. The BKA merely compared the notes and address books with with names and happenings known to them from the investigations into the RZ. The names of all the accused as well as Lothar E., who is currently facing extradition proceedings initiated by the BAW, are found in the address books. In how far the examination and assessment relied on the statements by the crown witness, or vice versa, i.e. if the evidence was used by the BKA during the interrogation of the crown witness, could not be verified. It was also not possible to find out the relevance of a particular note which Mousli claims refers to a meting between Axel H. and Rudolf Sch. The interrogation of BKA officer van Elkan on this and other points will be continued following Friday.

29.11.2001: 39th day in court

Searches and a birthday song

At the beginning of today's court day, most of the 25 trial visitors did not want to refrain from singing a little birthday song for the accused Axel H.

This was followed by an application for evidence by Harald G.'s defence lawyers. With the introduction of further BKA files they want to prove that crown witness Mousli was known to the investigating authorities already in 1995 and not only since the end of October 1997, as the files open to the defence claim.

Further, three more witnesses were questioned on various matters.

The motorbike which belonged to the first witness Ulrich B. had served as an example for a double used for the attack on Korbmacher in 1987. The witness described and identified his motorbike from pictures presented to him.

Next witness was a BKA officer who reported on the second unsuccessful search of the Mehringhof on 30.5.2000. During the search, the crown witness had led the search for an arms and explosives depot he claimed was there, via a live video and phone line. Today it turned out that the BKA is in possession of a video clip of this search. The court wants to think about introducing this material into the proceedings.

After that, three BKA officers more or less gave evidence on a search that took place in the flat of the accused Axel H., during which a pistol and some bullets were found.

In principle the questions referred to who found which objects where and according to which procedure they were listed. Despite the existence of a list that was made, the officers could not exactly remember the exact events surrounding the findings. It could not be clarified for example, where the munition was found, which was obviously very old and also did not fit the pistol. It only became clear that the pistol was not hidden but lying "somewhere inbetween" on a shelf.

23.11.2001: 38th day in court

Police reports on the Mehringhof raid

The main theme of today was the raid of the Berlin cultural centre Mehringhof on 19.12.1999.

The witnesses, federal crime police officers Horst Kröschel and Kurt Schmitz, confirmed that neither the four dogs trained in spotting explosives, nor the nine search teams could find weapons or explosive. According to Tarek Mousli, several kilos of the explosive Gelamon which was stolen in Salzhemmendorf as well as pistols were supposed to be hidden in the shaft of a lift in the Mehringhof. Investigating officer Kröschel as well as Schmitz, who was responsible for the searching of the cellar, said they had finished the search with the certainty that there had definitely not been any explosive in the Mehringhof. They also did not get the impression that members of the centre had known about the planned raid.

Apart from these officers, three more witnesses were asked to give evidence today.

The first was released immediately as he was wrongly ordered to court on grounds of the same name.

The second witness, Thomas K., who together with his sister had been the owner of a red Estate VW Passat from 1986 onwards, gave evidence on this vehicle. Himself and his sister were interrogated in 1987 because a double of their car was found in the Ihnestrasse in Berlin.

The third witness, Manuela K., former police officer, was involved in the examination of the RZ declaration to the attack on judge Korbmacher, but could hardly remember anything about it.

22.11.2001: 37th day in court

Deliberate tampering during BKA investigation into finding of explosives?

In today's interrogation of three federal crime police (BKA) officers, obvious and serious contradiction came to light with regards to the investigations that took place in relation to the findings of explosives. According to the files, the origin of the confiscated explosive Gelamon 40 which was already found in Berlin in 1995, was only investigated in 1997. This stands in contradiction to the usual procedures of the BKA. The police officer Deutesfeld explained today that in the case of explosives found in Bielefeld in 1988, the relevant BKA officers were immediately informed and that they examined the place of finding and the explosive the very next day.

Although in the case of the explosive stolen from Mousli's cellar and then confiscated in 1995, an "immediate notification of explosive finding" was made and also sent to various BKA departments several times, also in 1996, investigations were only initiated in November 1997, when BKA officer Schulzke ordered his colleague Möller to write an examination report. On the one hand, Möller was supposed to examine in how far the explosive stolen in Salzhemmerdorf in 1987 and the explosive confiscated in Berlin in 1995 were identical. However, Schulzke, according to the relevant files, had already told his colleague Möller that the explosive found in Berlin was identical to that from Salzhemmerdorf, which could be seen through the numbering of the original packaging.

The producing East German company VEB Schönebeck however, denied to the BKA that they had traded with the explosives with that particular numbering at all during the relevant time period (9.2.1987). Orders with that explosive were only carried out to the security services NVA or the MfS, with no individual numbering.

16.11.2001: 36th day in court

Document recital so that the trial does not collapse

As the health of the judges is not yet restored, an emergency programme was laid down for the trial not to be interrupted for more than 10 days: first the recital of a death certificate of the witness Ernst Heinz W. - then his statement from 25.4.1988. Dr. W. was resident in the Ihnestrasse, where he saw the flight vehicle. Apart from the vehicle he did not see anything.

15.11.2001: 35th day in court

Holiday for all - except for the prisoners

Also judges are not saved from illness. Trial interrupted until tommorow, probably with shortened programme.

09.11.2001: 34th day in court

Vage memories of motorbikers

Today, Olaf and Florence F. were supposed to give evidence on two men they saw at the border point Drewitz on 30.8.1987, with a "suspicious" motorbike. Both claimed to have recognised the motorbike when it was later shown on TV. The vehicle is claimed to have been driven by RZ members in the attack on the chief of the Aliens Office Harald Hollenberg.

Today revealed that the memory of both witnesses had considerably faded. They could only describe in detail the unusual colouring of the bike and a light seat which did not belong to the standard model of that bike.

After they called the police, they were questioned by the BKA and intelligence authorities several times in 1987 and also in 2000. Olaf F. claims to have detected "some similarities" between the driver of the motorbike and a photo presented to him during the interrogation. One of the pictures showed to them in 2000 apparently also showed similarities to the driver. Both suggested at the time that the man on the photo, which showed the accused Axel H., could be said with a 40% certainty to be identical with the driver. Today they are not sure anymore if they can see similarities to the man they saw 14 years ago.

08.11.2001: 33rd day in court

Did the crown witness have contacts to "Arab terrorists"?

The Senate attempted to jolt the memory of several witnesses today. They were supposed to give evidence on the attack on the then "asylum judge" Korbmacher in 1987. The day however started with applications by the defence.

Lawyer Kaleck lodged an application for evidence which is supposed to uncover possible contacts the crown witness had with "Arab terrorists". In their arrest warrant for the crown witness of November 1999, the public prosecution (BAW) had itself referred to the obviously existing contacts. Also the application for the interception of Mousli's telephone line (TÜ) in the Snoops Sports Centre (August 1999) contained remarks on relevant contacts Mousli had. But the investigation files did not show any findings on this matter. The application demanded for the relevant files to be admitted to court.

Kaleck further demanded from the Senate to examine if the non-suspect related dragnet control (Rasterfahndung) that was initiated after 11 September uncovered any further evidence on Mousli's contacts to "Arab terror groups".

Following this, lawyer Eisenberg lodged an application for the hearing of two more witnesses in relation to the investigations into the Hollenberg case.

During the following day, six witnesses were heard who were supposed to give evidence on the Korbmacher case. Four of them tested their memory on the motorbike used in the attack, two crime police officers were questioned on their investigation work at the time. No statement shed light on the direct or indirect involvement of the accused.

05.11.2001: 32nd day in court

Twice ten minutes

Today's trial day was short and curious. At 8.37 am the presiding judge Hennig opened proceedings which weren't really proceedings. Siting judge Hanschke then read out a police technical opinion of 14.11.1986, which dealt with the physical examination of Harald Hollenberg's clothing, which he wore at the time of the attack. It contained details on the point of entry and exit of the bullets in the different clothes (trousers, coat etc.), further the problematics of trace analysis were outlined and how the examination of traces could lead to identifying the distance of the shooting. After the reading, all trial members were then allowed to look at the pictures of the clothing which were made during the police technical investigation. At 8.46 am everything was over, the trial was interrupted and set for next Thursday. Because Sabine E. could not be brought into the court room at 8.30 am, the whole procedure was repeated for her at 10 am. The court achieved this separate hearing by splitting the procedure.