Dhe young woman walks hesitantly to the witness stand. She was near the crime scene that night, now the judge wants to know what she can remember. She has noticed a fight, says the 19-year-old woman. "How many people were there?" Asks the judge. "What did you see? Did you know one of the persons? Were there injured people? "The witness shakes her head. She has turned away, she says monosyllabically, and that it sometimes happens that people beat each other. Even when the judge quoted from the police interrogation in which the woman had given details, this does not seem to help her memory. "I do not know everything anymore" is the answer. Then the next witness is called.
That's how it works every half-hour on almost every trial day. One witness after the other enters the courtroom in Dresden, where the district court of Chemnitz has relocated the proceedings against Alaa S. for reasons of space and security. Significant progress, however, can not be seen in the process that has been ongoing for two months. The 23-year-old Syrian asylum seeker is accused of sharing responsibility for the death of 35-year-old chemist Daniel H. at the city festival in late August last year.
Still on the run
The alleged chief perpetrator, the 23-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker Farhad A., is still on the run and is being sought with an international arrest warrant. The prosecution has accused Alaa S., among other things, the joint manslaughter and the jointly committed dangerous injury. According to his defense lawyers, S. denies the act, he has not commented on the process so far. Rather, he follows attentively and without any outward emotion the negotiation which an interpreter translates into Arabic.
So it is first police, an interpreter and the investigating judge, who had to deal with Alaa S. immediately after the arrest and reflect his statements made at that time. It was a quiet interrogation without difficulty, they report. The defendant had acted calmly and deliberately, stressing that he had nothing to do with the case. According to the accounts, the defendant was initially in a kebab shop near the later crime scene and had ordered something to eat when he had heard a dispute outside between Farhad A. and the later victim. His acquaintance Yusif A., also a 23-year-old Syrian refugee, then ran out and wanted to settle. Shortly thereafter, however, there was then the deadly argument. Yusif A. and Alaa S. had run away because they feared that they would have problems with the police as foreigners.
Bloody hands not documented
Two policemen, on the other hand, had both taken hold shortly thereafter and only a few hundred yards away, and had been arrested for the time being. Yusif A. had bloodstained hands, and there was blood on his outer clothing and trousers, one of the policemen said. His colleague testified that the palms were reddish-brown, that it could have been blood. However, this was neither documented nor mentioned in the investigation report. Why this happened, both policemen could not explain. They did not think that was important. Yusif A. was released from custody a few weeks after the act for lack of evidence. On a knife – the murder weapon – was not found its DNA, but only presumably that of the fleeting Farhad A. The defendant Alaa S., in turn, had only a bruise on his shoulder.
However, almost all respondents say they are unaware that they have not seen or heard anything. Again and again there is talk of loud arguments and nasties, but who was there, how many people were involved and who did what – there is hardly any usable information. Even a Hauptbelastungszeug, a 30-year-old employee from the said doner shop, which is said to have heavily incriminated the defendant in the police interrogation, initially refuses to testify because he is threatened. When the judge nevertheless charges him under police protection, the man makes contradictory statements, saying that he can no longer remember and was misunderstood.
Yusif A. (t) Alaa S. (t) Daniel H. (t) Prosecutor (t) Police (t) Tatnacht (t) Murder case