Intel agencies grilled by German MEPs on neo-Nazi murders

July 05, 2012, Thursday/ 17:35:00

The German parliament is discussing the possibility of a cover-up by the country’s intelligence agencies with regards to a neo-Nazi group believed to have killed at least 10 people, mostly ethnic Turks, over the past seven years.

The lawmakers questioned the destruction of documents related to a small neo-Nazi group called Thüringer Heimatschutz after federal prosecutors took over a neo-Nazi murder case last November which shocked the German public.

On Thursday, a German parliamentary committee held a session behind closed doors, questioning a section head of the country’s domestic intelligence agency, identified only as “M,” who is believed to be responsible for destroying the seven files.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has reiterated that Turkey is closely following the German investigation into the murders and has asked the German authorities to show decisiveness in fighting xenophobia in their country.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the ministry condemned the apparent cover-up, saying that the fact that the concealment of documents occurred immediately after federal prosecutors took over the case raises questions.

Earlier this week, the head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency stepped down over the alleged cover-up.

Heinz Fromm, head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), resigned amid criticism of how his agency failed to take action against the far-right group.

In a seven-year terror spree between 2000 and 2007, eight Turks, one Greek immigrant and a German policewoman were killed by the neo-Nazi group, the National Socialist Underground (NSU), which has so far succeeded in evading any criminal convictions.

Hans Georg Engelke, who was appointed by Friedrich, will investigate how some documents containing potential evidence related to NSU murders had been destroyed within the BfV.

He is expected to start the investigation at the headquarters of the BfV next week.

The string of killings between 2000 and 2007 of small-business owners, including a florist, a tailor and fast-food store owners -- referred to as “kebab murders” -- went unsolved for years. Authorities suspected organized crime rather than politically motivated racist groups. German Chancellor Angela Merkel commemorated the victims last year with an official ceremony. In her speech, Merkel promised to do everything possible to prevent a repeat of the “cold-blooded” murders.

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