Outrage grows over exclusion of Turkish journalists from neo-Nazi terror trial


Turkey waded into a deepening row with Germany’s justice ministry today when it demanded that a Munich court guarantee access to its journalists for the trial of five neo-Nazis accused of the worst far-right terrorist attacks in post-war German history.

The five, due to stand trial in Munich next month, have been charged with complicity in the murders of a policewoman and nine immigrants, including a Greek stallholder and eight Turkish street vendors.

On Monday judges at the Munich court trying the far-right National Socialist Underground members ruled that Turkish journalists could not be guaranteed access to the trial because they had submitted in their applications too late.

Today the administration in Ankara joined the German government, the European Commission, German-Turkish organisations and Germany’s Foreign Press Association in demanding that the court revise its decision. Germany is home to nearly three million Turkish immigrants.

“It would be desirable if the court could reconsider its decision given the importance of this trial for Turks in Germany,” Ankara was reported to have told the Munich judges.

Viviane Reding, the European Union Justice Commissioner said the court was clearly at fault. “ It is the most normal thing in the world for foreign journalists to want to attend such a trial – especially if they come from the countries of the victims,” she told the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The Munich judges argue that they opted to hand out trial press passes on a purely “first-come first-served” basis, and that using other criteria would have laid them open to legal charges of political bias. “We may be getting it in the neck from the press, but at least we are not putting the case at risk,” said Judge Margarete Nötzel

However their ruling means that only 50 journalists are guaranteed admission to the trial.  The remaining 175, including eight from Turkey, have been placed on a waiting list – but may be allowed access to the public gallery.

The judges have insisted that the case must be held in the comparatively small 250-seat courtroom because it is the only one equipped with the proper security arrangements.

The German government has also appealed to the court to revise its decision and admit Turkish journalists. But  Siegfried Kauder, head of  Germany’s parliamentary legal affairs committee defended the court today. “The justice authorities are not deciding on the basis of Turkish or not Turkish,” he said.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to get in...

Ashdown Group: Project Manager - Birmingham - up to £40,000 - 12 month FTC

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before