Frankfurt am Main Death threats, fantasies of violence and racist insults: in the trial surrounding the “NSU 2.0” letter, the accused was sentenced to five years and ten months in prison. The Frankfurt regional court found the 54-year-old guilty on Thursday, among other things, of incitement to hatred, disruption of public peace by threatening to commit crimes, use of anti-constitutional symbols, insult, attempted coercion and threats. Prosecutors had asked for seven and a half years in prison.
Alexander M., who comes from Berlin, sent a series of hateful threatening letters to lawyers, politicians, journalists and representatives of public life by e-mail, fax and SMS. The addressees included satirist Jan Böhmermann, presenter Maybrit Illner and cabaret artist Idil Baydar.
The series began in August 2018 with death threats against the Frankfurt lawyer Seda Basay-Yildiz and her family. The letters were signed “NSU 2.0” – an allusion to the right-wing extremist terrorist cell National Socialist Underground (NSU). Uwe Mundlos, Uwe Böhnhardt and Beate Zschäpe had murdered under this name. Between 2000 and 2007, the trio shot and killed nine small business owners of Turkish and Greek origin and one policewoman. They also injured dozens with bomb attacks.
“We are convinced that you wrote all of them alone,” said presiding judge Corinna Distler, referring to the letters to the accused. “The entire series of threats is cast in one piece.” There were no indications of any accomplices. This also applies to the first fax to the lawyer Basay-Yildiz. She described the great suffering caused by the threats against her family in court – the author had threatened to “slaughter” her little daughter.
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How the query of the data used for this letter, which took place after the investigation in the 1st Frankfurt police station, was carried out, could not be clarified, said Distler. During the investigation, a right-wing extremist chat group was exposed, in which officials from the station exchanged information. Personal data was also retrieved from police computers in Wiesbaden and Berlin and used for threats. The public prosecutor’s office had also assumed that the accused had acted alone, who had asked the police for the data under false identities.
Co-plaintiffs are demanding further clarification
The assumption that M. acted alone was criticized from the start. The co-plaintiffs – MPs Martina Renner (left) and Basay-Yildiz – demanded further clarification after the verdict. Basay-Yildiz said it was unclear how the blocked address got to the perpetrator, which he could not have obtained simply by telephone. This must be pursued with vigour. The evidence pointed to an officer from the 1st Frankfurt police station.
Her little daughter was also threatened, the lawyer said. To this day she does not know who is in danger. The court referred to further proceedings against Frankfurt police officers for incitement to hatred, and further clarification must be carried out here. The Left Chairwoman Janine Wissler, who was also affected by the threatening letter, said it was wishful thinking and a denial of reality to say that there were no right-wing networks in the police force.
The defendant took the verdict calmly, but demonstratively avoided eye contact with the presiding judge while the verdict was being reasoned. M. explained again on Thursday that he was a member of a chat group on the dark web, which is why parts of the threatening letters were found on his computer. He apologized for being part of the group. He accused the prosecutor of lying and manipulation.
Internet research and linguistic analyzes led to the arrest of the Berliner, who has been in custody since May 2021. The public prosecutor’s office stated that they wanted to examine whether an appeal would be lodged against the verdict.
The extent to which the recipients suffered from the threats became clear from further witness statements in the proceedings. The cabaret artist Baydar also reported that it was becoming increasingly difficult for her to trust the police. Their data had also been queried by a police computer.