Turkish media to challenge exclusion from neo-Nazi trial

Limitied accreditation for Munich trial draws sustained criticism

The press gallery in the courtroom where the trial against suspected NSU member Beate Zschäpe will take place.  Turkey’s Sabah newspaper said it was going to the German constitutional court in Karlsruhe to demand a seat reservation. Photograph: Michael Dalder/Reuters

The press gallery in the courtroom where the trial against suspected NSU member Beate Zschäpe will take place. Turkey’s Sabah newspaper said it was going to the German constitutional court in Karlsruhe to demand a seat reservation. Photograph: Michael Dalder/Reuters

 


Turkey’s Sabah newspaper is to appeal to Germany’s highest court over its exclusion from the trial of a woman accused of involvement in a neo-Nazi murder series.

Eight of the 10 victims of the neo-Nazi NSU underground organisation killed between 2000 and 2007 were Turkish citizens but no Turkish media organisation has been granted guaranteed seats for this month’s trial of suspected NSU member Beate Zschäpe.

Yesterday Sabah said it was going to the German constitutional court in Karlsruhe to demand a seat reservation. The mass-market Hürriyet is considering joining the complaint.

“We believe the freedom of the press and freedom of information also applies to Turkish-speaking journalists here in Germany and we too want to follow this case live,” said Sabah editor Ismael Erel. “Trials must be public, even for people of Turkish descent in Germany.”

The Munich courtroom assigned for the NSU trial has only 50 seats reserved for the media. Some 82 media organisations, including The Irish Times , have been accredited but put on a reserve list with no guarantee of access to proceedings.

The Munich court has declined to look again at its first- come, first-served accreditation process. It has refused to move proceedings to a larger courtroom or allow a closed-circuit transmission to another courtroom. German legal opinion is divided over whether such a transmission could leave the proceedings open to later challenge.

German media outlets granted access have been refused permission to transfer their accreditation for Turkish colleagues.

The Turkish ambassador to Germany said he planned to attend the trial to support relatives of NSU victims, though no seat has been reserved for him either.

“It is only natural that I will be with the victims’ families there and accompany them on this difficult path,” he said. “It is my job and of course my duty to be there.”