Revision to Fretterode judgment filed: "Not remotely plausible"

Two neo-Nazis received a mild sentence for a brutal attack on two journalists. The public prosecutor's office and the private prosecutor are filing an appeal.

The two accused in the so-called Fretterode trials at the Mühlhausen district court - guarded by police officers

The verdict against the accused triggered great outrage Photo: Silvio Dietzel/dpa

BERLIN taz | That Verdict caused a nationwide outcry. The German Union of Journalists said it was "outraged and stunned". The rule of law should not treat journalists like this. The German Association of Journalists spoke of a "hair-raising court decision" and a "fatal signal in the direction of the right-wing scene".

Previously, the Mühlhausen district court had closed two neo-Nazis extremely light penalties for a brutal attack on two journalists in 2018 in Thuringian Fretterode. On Friday, the public prosecutor's office and the co-plaintiff announced that they would appeal the case.

"We want to have the judgment legally reviewed by the Federal Court of Justice," prosecutor Benedikt Ballhausen told the taz. Unlike the court, the credibility of the attacked co-plaintiffs is not in doubt. The court also "did not sufficiently consider" the political motivation of the attackers.

Sven Adam, lawyer for one of the journalists attacked, also spoke of an "incomprehensible and ridiculous verdict". Discussions and legal reviews are still in progress. But the goal is clear, according to Adam to the taz: "We want to join the revision of the public prosecutor's office."

Attacked with wrench and knife

The two journalists had a neo-Nazi meeting in April 2018 on the property of the Thuringian NPD leader Thorsten Heise documented in Fretterode. As a result, his son Nordulf H. and his acquaintance Gianluca B. ran towards them from the conversation, followed them with their car and tried to force them off the road. When the journalists got stuck in a ditch, the 23- and 28-year-olds should attacked with a wrench, baseball bat, knife and tear gas, smashed the car and stole a camera. The victims suffered a stab wound to the thigh, a bleeding head wound and bruises. The car was a total loss.

After a year of trial, the district court in Mühlhausen sentenced Gianluca B. to one year's probation and Nordulf H. to a youth sentence of 200 working hours. The defendants said the victims were not journalists, but identified as belonging to the left scene, explained the judge. This is supported by the fact that they were dubbed "ticks" during the attack - which, in the eyes of the court, is a common term and does not yet allow any conclusions to be drawn about the political views of the perpetrators.

Prosecutors wanted several years in prison

The public prosecutor's office, on the other hand, had demanded a good three years in prison for Gianluca B. and a nine-month suspended sentence for Nordulf H. The authority not only takes action against the denial of the political motivation of the attackers, but also takes up a second point. The court also saw the theft of the journalists' camera as not proven - Nordulf H. and Gianluca B. had simply denied it. "That's not remotely plausible," prosecutor Ballhausen told the taz. Although the camera has disappeared to this day, there is actually a photo of the attack, one of the journalists had hidden the camera's memory card in his sock.

According to co-prosecutor Adam, it is this point of revision that one of the attacked journalists also wants to join. "The verdict is a slap in the face to both plaintiffs," Adam said. Instead of punishing the "hunt" appropriately, the court revealed "understanding of the ideas of violent neo-Nazis". That remains "incomprehensible".

Not the only judicial farce in Thuringia

Meanwhile, the Thuringian judiciary is also busy with a second farce. In August, the trial against the Erfurt district court took place far-right "Turons" burst due to drug trafficking on a large scale. One of the accused who Scene lawyer Dirk Waldschmidt, according to his defense attorneys, was no longer able to stand trial because of a herniated disc. The court dropped the process – to the incomprehension of the public prosecutor. Political process observers from the SPD, the Greens and the Left also criticized the move.

Now the process is to be restarted on October 10, as a spokesman for the district court of the taz confirmed on Friday. Whether negotiations will take place with or without Waldschmidt remained open for the time being. His defender Nicole Schneiders told the taz on Friday that her client's state of health had not changed. The court must now decide whether to separate its proceedings or not.

It was feared that the bursting of the trial could also lift the arrest warrants against six of the nine accused, which had been in place for a year and a half. The Thuringian Higher Regional Court announced on Friday that the detention had been ordered to continue and the complaints about the detention review had been rejected.

Arrest warrants stand

There is still an urgent suspicion against the accused, the court justified its decision. There is also a risk of escape and blackout. Pre-trial detention for more than a year and a half is therefore justified.

The accused were arrested in February 2021. Several of them are attributed to the right-wing extremist "Turons", who organized right-wing rock concerts in the past. The prosecution accuses them now Drug dealings, gun violations, money laundering and a case of forced prostitution before.

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