The father of one of the victims of a series of murders believed to have been carried out by a neo-Nazi gang has testified in court. His son was the youngest of 10 people killed over a period of several years.
On Tuesday, Ismail Yozgat used his testimony to give the Munich court an emotional account of how he found his 21-year-old son dead in the Internet cafe they jointly operated in Kassel in 2006.
"Why did they kill my son?" Yozgat asked the courtroom, his voice choked up by his tears.
Speaking in Turkish through an interpreter, Yozgat told the court that he had noticed drops of blood on the floor shortly after he arrived at their place of business in the late afternoon to take over for his son, who was attending night school. Walking behind the front desk, he found his son in a pool of blood, he said. Yozgat described how he took his son in his arms and pleaded with him to say something, but received no reply. He even went so far as to get out of his seat and lie down on the courtroom floor to demonstrate the position he found his son in.
Then he looked towards the five accused of aiding and abetting the killers of his son and eight other people and, addressing them directly, asked: "What gave you the right to do this?"
All five followed his testimony without displaying any outward emotion.
Yozgat also complained that his family had initially been suspected of being behind his son's murder.
"For five and a half years, we were afraid to go out as a family. Everybody looked at us with suspicion, not only Germans, but also Turks," he said, adding that people would ask him things like: "Why did you kill your son, was it because of hashish or heroin?"
According to the prosecution sheet, Halit Yozgat, who died on April 6, 2006, was the ninth victim in a series of murders carried out by Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt, both members of the extreme right-wing group National Socialist Underground.
The second witness to testify on Tuesday is someone who has said he was actually in the Internet cafe when the murder took play. The witness named as Andreas T. is a former agent with the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in the central state of Hesse, where Kassel is located.
Andreas T. testified that he was in the a booth in the Internet cafe visiting a chat room at the time Yozgat was murdered. However, he said he neither saw or heard anything at the time, and only learned of the murder in the newspaper. The witness also said he had long assumed that he had been in the internet cafe not on the Thursday when the murder occurred, but on the previous Wednesday. Under questioning from the presiding judge, Andreas T. denied having initially said he wasn't on the premises at the time of the murder because he wanted to avoid being involved in the case.
Mundlos and Böhnhardt, the two men believed to have pulled the trigger in the murders of eight Turks, a Greek small-businessman and a German policewoman by a neo-Nazi group between 2000 and 2007, escaped police by committing suicide after robbing a bank in the eastern city of Eisenach in November 2011.
One of the suspects on trial, Beate Zschäpe, is accused of trying to destroy evidence against the NSU by burning down a house in the eastern city of Zwickau shortly after their deaths.
pfd/mkg (dpa, AFP)