ANTIFA INFO-BULLETIN: Luebeck: Anatomy of a Coverup

Robert (101607.2566@CompuServe.COM)
09 Aug 96 17:39:45 EDT


---------- Forwarded Message ----------

From: Tom Burghardt, INTERNET:tburghardt@igc.org
To: Robert, 101607,2566
Date: 09.08.1996 05:13

Subject:ANTIFA INFO-BULLETIN: Luebeck: Anatomy of a Coverup

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|| * -- UPDATE --- * - August 08, 1996 - * -- UPDATE --- * ||
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U P D A T E
_____

L U E B E C K :

ANATOMY OF A COVER-UP


CONTENTS:

-----

1. (AFIB) Editor's Introduction
2. (BARIN) BERLIN ANTIRACIST INFORMATION CENTER: Safwan Eid
Released. Witnesses' version loses credibility.
State Prosecutor provides alibi for other
suspects.
3. (IICS) Independent International Commission Statement
from July, 4, 1996
4. (LCAR) LUEBECK COALITION AGAINST RACISM: Police raid
Luebeck Coalition Against Racism offices; LCAR
Statement

-----

EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION

On the night of January 18, 1996, arsonists attacked an
apartment building housing refugees in the city of Luebeck,
Germany. 10 people, including 4 children, were murdered and some
38 other victims were severely injured in the blaze.

Shortly after the conflagration was deliberately set, police
stopped three suspects; all had connections to Luebeck's neo-Nazi
scene. According to preliminary reports, the boneheads had
repeatedly threatened residents of the building on Neue
Hafenstrasse 52. Yet, the police and the State Prosecutor's
office released the fascists because they "had an alibi." One of
the boneheads is now accused of having desecrated a Jewish
cemetery!

Since the last update on July 16, Safwan Eid has been
released from jail. The court cited a "lack of faith" in the
"official" version of events presented by the prosecutor's office
and expressed "consistent doubts" regarding Eid's guilt.

Amazingly, the chief witnesses for the prosection are
themselves right-wingers with connections to the three Nazi
boneheads originally arrested January 18th! Not only will the
Luebeck prosecutor's office continue their despicable persecution
of Safwan Eid, but the German state has already announced they
intend to deport the Eid family at the conclusion of the upcoming
trial!

What has been the response by police and the State
Prosecutor's office to these unseemly revelations which possess
the tell-tale signs of an official cover-up? Why a raid on the
offices of the Luebeck Coalition Against Racism, of course!

In a grotesque display of police stupidity worthy of a
third-rate TV docudrama, Coalition members have been charged with
"libel" for having correctly accused the State Prosecutor of
blatant racism. Computers and other records were also seized by
these zealous defenders of the "state and its symbols."

Apparently, it is a criminal offense in the reunified
Germany of "actually existing capitalism" to denounce state
officials and their racist scheme to cover-up the pogrom
perpetrated by Nazi murderers the night of January 18th.

What better means to justify repression against refugees in
"Fortress Europe" than to persecute and hound the victims of
these monstrous attacks? What better means to silence one's
critics than to target antiracist Germans who challenge the
State's monopoly of violence, and their complicity with fascists,
against defenseless victims of racist terror?

The Nazi killers may had ignited the gasoline in Luebeck,
but the German ruling class gave them the match.


STOP THE PERSECUTION OF SAFWAN EID!

FIGHTING FASCISM IS NOT A CRIME!

DROP THE CHARGES AGAINST THE LUEBECK COALITION AGAINST
RACISM!


*****


** Topic: germany update july 96 **
** Written 5:50 PM Aug 4, 1996 by
MISCHA@VLBERLIN.comlink.apc.org in cdp:gen.racism **

-----
_________________________________________________________________

BERLIN ANTIRACIST INFORMATION NETWORK
***
Germany Update July 1996
_________________________________________________________________


SAFWAN EID RELEASED. WITNESSES' VERSION LOSES CREDIBILITY.
STATE PROSECUTOR PROVIDES ALIBI FOR OTHER SUSPECTS.

Safwan Eid, the 20-year old Lebanese man accused of setting
fire to a refugee hostal in Luebeck in which he and his family
were residents, was released from jail on July 2nd, after 6
months detention without trial.

The presiding judges at the Luebeck juvenile court, who
reached the decision to release him, expressed their lack of
faith in the version of events presented by the state prosecutor,
and stated that they had "consistent doubts" regarding Safwan
Eid's guilt.

The state prosecutor however insisted that the fact that
Safwan Eid has now been released from jail will not affect the
forthcoming trial against him. For the Luebeck State Prosecutor's
Office there are no other suspects apart from Safwan Eid.

However, the main plank of the state prosecutor's case took
a severe blow during July, when it was revealed that the two main
witnesses for the prosecution - Jens Leonhardt, a paramedic who
claims to have heard a confession from Eid, and Matthias Hamann,
a colleague who subsequently informed the police - both have
connections with the three men originally arrested on suspicion
of starting the fire which killed ten people and injured 38.

A friend of Maik Wotenow, one of the original suspects, is
quoted by the "Junge Welt" newspaper of July 8th as having told
police that she had found notes in her apartment belonging to
Wotenow, with the names of the two witnesses. In addition, the
"Spiegel" magazine is quoted as claiming that Wotenow also had
the names of two car theives who had attempted to steal the Eid
family's car in October 1996, but were stopped by the Eid family
and handed over to the police - thus providing a possible grudge
motive for certain rightwing circles in the town of Grevesmuehlen
against the Eid family.

The Luebeck Coalition Against Racism is also reported to
have found a person who can confirm witness Hamann's connections
with the extreme right. According to their information a search
of Hamann's locker at the paramedical organisation for which he
was working in 1988 revealed extreme rightwing propaganda
material, a gas pistol, a police-type rubber baton and documents
on the formation of a militia-type cell in the Luebeck area.

A speaker for the Coalition is quoted as saying that "the
rightwing connections of the state prosecutor's witnesses must be
thoroughly investigated and not denied in spite of knowledge to
the contrary". The Coalition also called for Luebeck state
attorneys Schultz and Bockenhauer to be excluded from further
proceedings in view of the fact that "they have adequately
demonstrated their one-sidedness and/or incompentence".

It has also been revealed that witness Leonhardt's version
of the events during which Safwan Eid is alleged to have made a
confession contain serious contradictions concerning the time of
the alleged confession.

Meanwhile the original suspects from the town of
Grevesmuehlen are busy concocting the most outrageous alibis,
with the state prosecutor performing all sorts of contortions in
order to avoid prosecuting them. All three of the men were picked
up by the police in Luebeck on the night of the fire with freshly
singed eyelashes and eyebrows, indicating that they had been in
the direct vicinity of a fire. All three had also been previously
observed buying 5 litres of petrol at a local filling station.
All three were also subsequently observed at the scene of the
fire.

According to Geoffrey Bindman, a British lawyer and member
of the Independant International Commission monitoring the
proceedings in Luebeck: "The men from Grevesmuehlen were at the
scene of the fire on the night of the fire, with fresh traces of
burns. That places them under grave suspicion".

In addition, the alibis of the three regarding the origin of
the burns to their facial hair - burns which they received at the
same time (or at the very least on the same day) to the same part
of the body, yet supposedly independantly of each other,
contradict each other so wildly as to be unbelievable. One of the
three claims to have burnt his eyebrows whilst lighting a coal-
burning heater, the other to have received similar burns (on the
same day) "whilst using a lighter to look for petrol in the tank
of a moped" (!) (Berliner Zeitung 13/14 July), and the other
claims to have received the same burns at the same time "whilst
trying to set fire to a dog".

Incredibly, no attempts to verify these statements were
undertaken by the authorities at the time of the fire. Implicitly
acknowledging the implausibility of the alibis, the state
prosecutor has taken the unusual step of providing one of his
own, by claiming that the three had received their burns
"breaking into cars and setting them alight". (taz 11/7/96).
However, even this version was not checked out at the time of the
fire, although police did take a look around Luebeck for burnt-
out auto wrecks in July, but - unsurprisingly - failed to find
anything. Indeed, Safwan Eid's defending lawyer Gabriele Heinecke
rejected the whole car-burning theory out of hand as a last-
minute invention on the part of the state prosecutor: "There is
no mention of a car wreck in the case files" she is quoted as
saying.

So whilst the case against Safwan Eid crumbles and the
credibility of the witnesses lies in tatters, the suspicion of a
cover-up by the authorities grows even stronger - if that is
possible. And to cap it all, the Luebeck immigration authorities
have declared their intention to deport the Eid family when the
trial is over.


*****


INDEPENDANT INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION STATEMENT FROM 4.7.96

-----


INDEPENDENT INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION

Mario Angelelli - Geoffrey Bindman - Christian Bruschi - Angiolo
Gracci - Beate Klarsfeld - Hans Langenberg - Felicia Langer -
Gaetano Pecorella - Arturo Salerni

Address: Schoolplein Address for correspondence
Advokatenkollektief in Germany:
Schoolplein 5A Anwaltsbuero Heinecke pp
3581 PX Utrecht Budapester Str. 49
20359 Hamburg
Telephone: +49 (0)40/439 60 02
Telefax: +49 (0)40/439 31 83

Bank Account No: 498 463-203; Postbank Hamburg BLZ 200 100 20
Account in the name of: A.Wulf/ Pax Christi; Code word:IUK
Luebeck

-----

Hamburg, 04.07.96
To the press
News editors

re:
Rescinding of arrest order against Safwan Eid by the Luebeck
State Court


The Independant International Commission calls for
investigations against the suspects from Grevesmuehlen to be
reopened immediately.

The IIC acknowledges that the Luebeck State Court has
revoked the arrest order against Safwan Eid. With this decision
the State Court has recognized the investigations carried out by
the State Prosecutor for what they really are: a collection of
contradictions and speculations, from which it is not possible to
construct a compelling case.

The IIC welcomes the fact that with this decision the
Luebeck State court has taken a long-overdue step towards the
creation of a climate in which the objective discovery of the
truth can become at all possible.

In view of the tragedy in which 10 people - who had come to
this country in search of protection - were killed and 38
injured, some of them seriously, and in view of the fact that the
evidence leads to the assumption of intentional arson and murder,
it is naturally unthinkable just to return to everyday business.
Instead the decision of the Luebeck State Court should be
understood as an urgent appeal to do everything possible to
discover the truth behind this tragedy without prejudice, and to
bring the guilty to justice. Any other attitude would be
incomprehensible both for us and for public opinion in our
countries.

In this context the IIC repeats its recommendation which it
made on 23.6.96:

* We recommend that all those affected by the events receive
guarantees that their residency status in the Federal
Republic of Germany is assured, at the very least until
all conceivable investigations and taking of evidence
arising from the fire have been completed.

* We recommend that everything be done to ensure that the
house in which the fire took place is preserved until all
investigations and taking of evidence have been completed.


* Above all: we urgently recommend that investigations
against the suspects from Grevesmuehlen be reopened.


*****


POLICE RAID LUEBECK COALITION AGAINST RACISM OFFICES

Meanwhile, not wanting to appear inactive, the Luebeck
authorities have been busy - raiding the offices of the Luebeck
Coalition Against Racism.


Police entered and searched the offices of the Coalition on
the morning of July 23rd, justifying their action by claiming to
be looking for posters bearing the words "Safwan is innocent".
The text of the posters contains the demand to "put an end to
racist police investigations" next to a picture of State
Prosecutor Dr. Bockenhauer. The police interpreted this as
meaning that Dr. Bockenhauer was being accused of acting in a
racist manner, something which "defames and damages the dignity
of State Prosecutor Dr. Bockenhauer and his reputation". A libel
action against the group had already been initiated by Dr
Bockenhauer's colleague State Prosecutor Schultz the previous
week. According to Mr Schultz the poster's contents were
"particularly bad". In addition the group is to be investigated
under suspicion of "defamation of the state and its symbols".

In a press statement the Luebeck Coalition Against Racism
wrote:

"The actions of the State Prosecutor's Office, court and
police against their critics regarding the investigations in the
Hafenstrasse (the scene of the Luebeck fire) case, is a blatant
violation of the fundamental right to freedom of speech. If an
institution such as the State Prosecutor's Office is in a
position to initiate repressive measures against critical
initiatives of its own accord, this is more than disturbing from
a legal point of view. We can only recommend that the State
Prosecutor's Office should begin at last with a self-critical
evaluation of its own mistakes, instead of seeing itself in a
kind of siege mentality as the innocent victims of a hostile
public opinion.

The action is obviously aimed against the working
capabilities of a critical civil initiative. We demand the
immediate handing over of all confiscated objects, in particular
the computer.

The overzealous activity against political criticism stands
in strange contrast with the inactivity of the State Prosecutor's
Office when it comes to following up clues that point to
rightwing extremist responsibility for the fire of the 18th
January.

We stand by our accusation that the investigations are being
conducted in a racist way. Whoever brands a refugee as an
arsonist without any watertight evidence and keeps him in
dentention awaiting trial for over five months whilst
simultaneously ignoring important leads pointing to a German
responsibility for the crime, will just have to put up with this
kind of accusation. We will not be silenced on this issue and are
prepared to defend our assessment in court if necessary and to
provide facts to back up our assertion.

We repeat our demands that State Prosecutors Schultz and
Bockenhauer be excluded from ongoing proceedings on the grounds
of their one-sidedness and/or incompentence and that an
independant inquiry begin into the scandalous happenings in the
Luebeck State Prosecutor's Office."

Berlin
2.8.96

** End of text from cdp:gen.racism **

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