29.08.2022, Berlin: Die Angeklagten verdecken im Gerichtssaal des Kriminalgerichts Moabit ihre Gesichter. Hier begann der Prozess gegen insgesamt fünf Männer. Die Berliner Generalstaatsanwaltschaft wirft ihnen unter anderen vor, spätestens im Januar 2017 beschlossen zu haben, Brandanschläge auf die Autos zweier Männer zu verüben, die sich politisch gegen Rechtsextremismus engagieren. In der Nacht zum 1. Februar 2018 sollen sie im Bezirk Neukölln die Autos angezündet und dadurch beschädigt haben. Die Vorwürfe lauten Bedrohung, Brandstiftung beziehungsweise Beihilfe dazu, Sachbeschädigung und Verwenden von Kennzeichen verfassungswidriger Organisationen. Mit der Anschlagsserie befasst sich auch ein parlamentarischer Untersuchungsausschuss des Berliner Abgeordnetenhauses. Foto: Christian Ender/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

Police officers took the witness stand on the second day of the trial around the Neukölln complex. However, some of the officials’ memories have faded. “There’s no show here,” one of the defense attorneys interjected in a dispute. “Why is there an accusation after so many years?” He has known his client Sebastian T. for a long time – “I mean, he should be acquitted”.

The 39-year-old Tilo P, once active in the AfD Neukölln, and the 36-year-old neo-Nazi Sebastian T. are accused of setting fire to the cars of the bookseller Heinz Ostermann and the left-wing politician Ferat Kocak on the night of February 1, 2018 to have.

It is also about right-wing extremist graffiti on house walls and stickers on bus stops or junction boxes. The charges are arson or aiding and abetting, threatening, using signs of unconstitutional organizations, damaging property. In the case of T. it is also about fraud.

A third defendant is charged with damaging property. His lawyer had hoped for a “deal” with the court and the prosecution. In the case of his client, it’s just “a few stickers” and “somehow banal damage to property”.

Before the start of the second day of the trial, there was also a discussion between those involved in the process in order to possibly reach a quick decision in the case of the accused B.

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The judge later announced that the court had given the 38-year-old the prospect that, given the long-ago incidents, if he confessed, “they could react with a significant fine of 150 to 120 daily rates”. The defense attorney, a well-known right-wing lawyer, refused.

The mood in the process, which runs under tightened security precautions, seems irritated. The testimony of a witness who had reported to the police only recently also caused a dispute. One of the lawyers demanded information as to whether there were investigations going on parallel to the trial – observations or telephone surveillance.

Finally the answer: Not in this case, but there are further open investigations against P. and T. One of the prosecution representatives pointed out: “There are more than the two arson charges accused here.”

The investigative authorities have counted more than 70 right-wing extremist crimes in Neukölln since 2013, including 23 arson attacks, mainly on cars. The trial is about some of the deeds. From the point of view of the public prosecutor’s office, the aim of the actions was: people who are active against the right should be intimidated. The investigation had dragged on for years. With glitches and omissions.

A police officer was the first witness to right-wing extremist graffiti and right-wing stickers in the summer of 2017. His memory was faint – “it’s been five years, we have so many assignments”. Other witnesses in uniform were called to the witness stand with a code number and not by name. They had been conducting observations at the time. The trial continues on September 12.