When the NSU shoots Halit Yozgat in Kassel, a constitutional protector is at the crime scene. Did the office know about the crime in advance?
Witness Andreas Temme in the investigative committee. Picture: dpa
With a petrified expression, Gerald H. enters Room 301 of the Hessian Parliament. It is an uncomfortable appearance that the former constitutional protector is about to make. And an outrageous suspicion that he has to clear up.
One talks about a special, "unique" event, admits H. on Monday. An employee of his state office under suspicion of murder, he had not yet experienced. And H. was right in the middle of it at the time: as the intelligence officer of the Hessian Office for the Protection of the Constitution, as the contact person for the police.
Gerald H. is a witness before the NSU investigation committee in Hesse. It is his first public appearance. The ninth murder to which the "National Socialist Underground" claimed responsibility is being discussed. On April 6, 2006, 21-year-old Halit Yozgat was shot dead in his Internet cafe in Kassel – and a constitutional protector was at the crime scene, Andreas Temme.
In March, the lawyers for the Yozgat family presented telephone calls from Temme that had not yet been evaluated and that the police had intercepted after the crime. Including a strange sentence from H. to his colleague: "I’m telling everyone: if they know that something like this is happening somewhere, please don’t drive by." So did the Office for the Protection of the Constitution know about the planned crime? Did he even have it observed – and happen?
Minister President Volker Bouffier (CDU) also came under pressure: at the time, as Minister of the Interior, he had refused to let Temme’s V-men be questioned – out of concern that they would be unmasked.
The crowd of spectators on Monday was correspondingly large, with hardly an empty seat. Once again, the deputies listen to the half-hour telephone conversation in question. Gerald H. defends himself afterwards, saying that his sentence was an "ironic introduction". But the tone of the recording is rather subdued. The committee chairman Hartmut Honka, CDU, inquires whether he finds this appropriate, irony in a murder case? "That’s debatable," H. grumbles.
Again and again, H. had phoned Andreas Temme after the Kassel murder, advised him for an official statement. The police were on the phone with him, because they had Temme as a suspect in the meantime. Temme was in Yozgat’s Internet cafe during the crime, surfing on a dating site. Purely by chance, as he claims to this day. He claims not to have heard anything about the shooting and not to have seen the murdered man. It was only after two weeks that the police investigated him – Temme himself had not come forward as a witness.
The deputies questioned Gerald H. for more than three hours. The impression of a "collegial conversation" prevailed, in which H. Temme gave assistance, the parliamentarians reproached the current pensioner. "Did you never ask Mr. T. what was really going on?" H. shakes his head. "That wasn’t my job, I’m not a policeman."
Had anyone in the office known anything about the planned crime? "No." Was there any suspicion that Temme knew anything? "No." Why, then, had he been convinced that Temme was innocent? "That was my gut feeling," answers H. The leftist Janine Wissler becomes energetic. "You know what: I don’t believe you."
It’s a sluggish questioning. Again and again, the 70-year-old may not remember. This does not satisfy the members of the committee. Because H. expressed himself remarkably at another point in the 2006 telephone call. "Stay as close to the truth as possible," he advised Temme. Not just the full truth?
Gerald H. defends himself by saying that he had always appealed to Andreas Temme to "tell everything". That’s why he put it that way. But what "classified information" is there about the murder in the Internet cafe? Silence.
Meeting reports under lock and key
In the late afternoon, Temme himself is also questioned. He too wants to have interpreted the "drive-by" sentence of his superior H. as an attempt to "loosen up" the conversation. He had known nothing about a planned crime in the Internet cafe. The only thing is that Temme was an undercover agent at the Hessian Office for the Protection of the Constitution at the time, including a neo-Nazi. On the day of the murder, he spoke to the latter on the phone for eleven minutes – just under an hour before the murder.
Temme also concealed this from the police. The meeting reports of the two are still under lock and key. In addition, weapons and Nazi literature were found on Temme’s person after the crime. Even after that, Gerald H. asked. He spoke of his colleague’s "youthful sins. Again, some members of parliament shake their heads.
"There are now even more questions than answers," criticized the Left Party chairman Hermann Schaus after the questioning. One would let Gerald H. and Andreas Temme "definitely" once again summoned.
Also for the lawyers of the family Yozgat too many coincidences remain. Alexander Kienzle, one of them, sees the suspicion that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution had something to do with the murder by no means dispelled. "On the contrary," says Kienzle. Too many memory gaps had been cited in crucial points, too many inconsistencies remained, he said.
On Monday, the police officer who recorded Temme’s observation in 2006 was also questioned – without the "drive-by" sentence by H. According to the officer, she considered it "irrelevant" at the time.