Neo-Nazi probe: Indian-origin German MP slams authorities

Indian-origin MP Sebastian Edathy has criticised the country`s security authorities for their "total failure" in probing 10 racially motivated murders.

Last Updated: May 17, 2013, 15:22 PM IST

Berlin: Indian-origin MP Sebastian Edathy, who chairs a German parliamentary inquiry commission, has sharply criticised the country`s security authorities for their "total failure" in probing a string of 10 racially motivated murders allegedly by a neo-Nazi gang.

Edathy, interior affairs spokesman for the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD), spoke of "multiple" and "historically unparalleled" failures by the police and intelligence services, which investigated the crimes.

They were insensitive to the fact that nine victims were Turkish and Greek migrants and carried out their probe "with blinkers on and loaded with prejudices," Edathy said.

Their conduct was "disgraceful for a constitutional state and it should not happen again," he said.

For many years, investigations focused on organised crime within the Turkish communities and right extremists were never suspected as perpetrators of the crimes.

There have been allegations that intelligence files on the neo-Nazi cell National Socialist Underground (NSU) were destroyed even after the group`s activities came to light.

The committee came to the conclusion that mistakes were made by all the agencies involved at the federal and state levels and this led to the total failure of the security apparatus. They have not sufficiently exchanged their information and "massively underestimated the threats posed by right extremists," Edathy said.

The committee has been investigating how NSU carried out the murders across the country without being detected and why the authorities failed to prevent the crimes even though they had information about the gang already in the late 1990s.

Existence of the group and their activities came to light after two members, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Boenhardt, were found dead by police in their caravan in November, 2011, apparently after committing suicide following a botched bank robbery.

Beate Zschaepe, believed to be the only surviving member of the group, is currently facing trial at the regional court in Munich on charges of complicity in the murders of nine migrants and a woman police officer.

All of the victims were killed with the same gun in "execution-style shootings", according to the prosecution.

More than 80,000 files were examined and more than 80 witnesses, including five former federal interior ministers, were questioned by the committee during its work, which began on January 26, 2012.

Its final report will be presented to the Bundestag, the lower house of Parliament on September 03.

The committee members were unanimous in their assessment that security authorities failed completely at all levels and called for a thorough shake-up of the intelligence services.

However, they received no evidences for any attempts by the authorities to cover up the right extremist group, Wolfgang Wieland, spokesman for the Green party, said.

Meanwhile, the NSU trial in Munich was adjourned till June 04.