Three Neo-Nazis Face Murder Charges
Tuesday August 22, 20004:40 pm
HALLE, Germany (AP) - Three young Germans charged with murdering an African immigrant kept kicking and beating their victim even after he stopped moving, fueled by anti-foreigner hatred, prosecutors said as the trial began Tuesday.
All three defendants admitted in closed door testimony that they beat and kicked Alberto Adriano, said Ronald Reimann, a lawyer for the victim's family. They neither showed remorse nor apologized, Reimann told reporters.
Their failure to show remorse so shocked Adriano's widow, Angelika, that she left the trial, he added.
The June 11 attack on Adriano, 39, is one of the worst cases in a wave of neo-Nazi violence in Germany. Prosecutors had the indictment translated into English, an unusual move responding to the international attention focused on how the country deals with hatred toward foreigners.
Frank Miethbauer and Christian Richter, both 16, and Enrico Hilprecht, 24, all stared impassively as federal prosecutor Joachim Lampe read an account of the attack in court. He said it began after the three shouted racist comments at Adriano, a Mozambican immigrant on his way home from work in a meatpacking plant in the eastern German city of Dessau.
Lampe said Hilprecht alone kicked Adriano 10 times in the head with his jackboots, after the three had yelled slurs such as ``Blacks Out!''
The defendants ``were aware that Adriano could die, but on the basis of their xenophobia, this was unimportant for them and they accepted it tacitly,'' he said.
After five minutes of beating, when Adriano no longer moved, the three pulled off his pants and kicked him more - not stopping until police had arrived, Lampe said.
Adriano died three days later.
Adriano came to then-East Germany from socialist Mozambique in the 1980s as a contract worker and remained after unification. He left behind his German-born wife and three sons: Belamino, 8, Manuel, 3, and Gabriel, who is less than a year old.
All three defendants have buzz-style haircuts and Miethbauer wore a Hitler-style cropped mustache in court.
After the prosecutor read the indictment, Judge Albrecht Hennig ordered the proceedings to continue behind closed doors citing the juvenile age of Miethbauer and Richter, who face a maximum sentence of 10 years. Hilprecht faces a life sentence with possibility of parole in 15 years.
The trial was continuing Tuesday with testimony by witnesses who reported the beating to police and also by an expert who was to testify about the defendants' state of drunkenness.
Federal prosecutors have taken over the case, part of Germany's efforts to crack down on violent attacks by right-wing extremists.
The first neo-Nazi killing in years was recorded in 1999, and three more deaths, including Adriano's, have occurred so far this year.
Chief Federal Prosecutor Kay Nehm has called the rise in extreme-right violence a security threat, especially for the 7.3 million foreigners who make up 9 percent of the German population.
Authorities in northern Schleswig-Holstein state reported Tuesday that a 32-year-old African immigrant had been beaten while attending a festival with his wife and child Saturday. Three men were arrested, although two were later released on bail.