Germany: Police official allegedly blocked investigation of ultra-right group
The ARD television station has reported that a source in the Thuringian Police alleges that a high-ranking police official there obstructed the search for a member of the neo-Nazi group the National Socialist Underground (NSU) in 2003. Detectives did not discover the group until 2011, when 10 murders and many other violent crimes were attributed to them.
ARD reports that in 2003 the German Police were searching for NSU member Uwe Böhnhardt. A schoolmate of his recognized him at an intersection in the town of Jena and contacted detectives in the Thuringian Police.
A source from that police force has told ARD that the then vice-president of the Thuringian State Criminal Police, Werner Jakstat, instructed officers not to follow up on the tip. Böhnhardt subsequently disappeared.
Jakstat is currently the president of the Thuringian State Criminal Police. He has not commented on the allegations.
The NSU is said to be responsible for 10 murders, predominantly of immigrants, committed all over Germany between 2000 and 2007; two bomb attacks in immigrant neighborhoods of Cologne in 2001 and 2004 that injured a total of 23 people; and 15 bank robberies. Detectives did not discover the group until the autumn of 2011, never investigating the possible participation of right-wing extremists in these crimes from the start, instead suspecting people who lived in the victims' neighborhoods.
The NSU was comprised of three right-wing extremists - Böhnhardt, Uwe Mundlos, and Beate Zschäpe. The two men in the cell committed suicide in November 2011 rather than face arrest.
Zschäpe and four other alleged NSU supporters have been on trial in Munich since May, a proceedings which will probably last until at least the end of next year. If convicted, she faces life in prison.
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