Four men behind bulletproof glass, many of their relatives and acquaintances on the benches for listeners: A trial has begun at the regional court against members of the well-known extended C. family of Arabic origin.

The 21 to 28-year-olds are said to have lured a man into a trap, abused him and blackmailed him. According to the indictment, they demanded 30,000 euros for his release, and his girlfriend finally paid 19,000 euros. The four men from the C. family and a fifth accused are said to have acted as a gang. They had joined forces shortly before the attack on the then 32-year-old man “in order to commit a large number of crimes in the future,” the prosecutor said.

The charges are extortionate kidnapping, aggravated extortion and aggravated assault. The men from the clan milieu were initially silent on Thursday. News about a specially set up fake account is said to have lured the 32-year-old to Schöneberg on the evening of December 29, 2021. When he got out of his car on Potsdamer Strasse, the accused were lying in wait. A 27-year-old from the C. clan is said to have addressed the man. When he didn’t stop, the 27-year-old hit him with his fist.

[If you want all the breaking news live on your phone, we recommend our app, which you can download here for Apple and Android devices.] The defendants are said to have forced the 32-year-old to follow them into an apartment. There he was beaten, kicked and threatened with knives. They demanded 30,000 euros and claimed that it was his brother’s debts. The detainee was threatened with death and intimidated by beatings with a piece of wood. He was then allowed to call his girlfriend. She is said to have raised 19,000 euros.

The 32-year-old is said to have told the police that he had never seen the men before. He is expected as a witness on Monday.