Victims' lawyer Andreas Schulz on Friday accused the officials working for the Berlin state government of gross misconduct in the handling of the Anis Amri case and demanded significant compensation. It was revealed earlier this week that authorities had allegedly been involved in a cover-up designed to hide a number of missed opportunities to arrest Amri.
"This is undoubtedly a case of government liability," Schulz reportedly told the weekly German news magazine Focus when raising the claim of 100 million euros ($111 million) in damages.
"If they had arrested Amri back in November (2016) this terrible attack would never have happened," Schulz added, saying that he was also considering suing a number of government officials involved in the alleged whitewash of Amri's criminal background.
The lawyer said that he had every right to make such demands, as the findings had come from an official source, the parliamentary research services division (Wissenschaftlicher Dienst), and therefore fulfilled the requirements to lodge a claim for government liability.
Tunisian national Amri, who became the perpetrator of the deadliest Islamist terror attack on German soil when he ploughed a truck into a crowd at a Christmas Market in Berlin on December 19, 2016, had been under investigation for drug-related offences for months. However, his offences were deliberately treated as minor, preventing authorities from arresting the radicalized youth on numerous occasions.
Berlin state Interior Minister Andreas Geisel announced earlier in the week that Berlin's office of criminal investigation (LKA) had tried to cover up this blunder. Geisel said that special investigator Bruno Jost had found two sufficiently incriminating notes in Amri's files that could have warranted his arrest. Police staff had allegedly revised critical file notes and falsified documents to hide the missed opportunities to detain Amri.
It was also revealed that in January, certain documents pertaining to Amri's drug offences had been backdated to November 1.