Neo-Nazi trial spotlights migrants’ fate in Germany
A German court found the main defendant guilty on Wednesday in a string of neo-Nazi killings more than a decade ago – a high-profile trial that raised fresh questions about the treatment of migrants at a time when Germany is grappling with an unprecedented influx of refugees and surging support for a far-right party bent on keeping the country white.
The Munich court sentenced Beate Zschaepe, the only known survivor of the National Socialist Underground group, to life in prison in the killings of 10 people – most of them migrants – who were gunned down between 2000 and 2007. The group’s name, often shortened to NSU, alludes to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party.
Zschaepe was also found guilty of membership in a terrorist organization, bomb attacks that injured dozens and several lesser crimes including a string of robberies. Four men were also found guilty of supporting the group in various ways and given prison terms of between 21/2 and 10 years.
While the verdict was widely welcomed by victims’ families as well as anti-racism campaigners and mainstream political parties, the court’s failure to investigate the secretive wider network of people sympathetic to the National Socialist Undergound group’s cause drew criticism.
The verdict “is a first and very important step,” said Gamze Kubasik, the daughter of Mehmet Kubasik, who was shot dead by Zschaepe’s two accomplices in the western city of Dortmund on April 4, 2006.