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11th Day of Trial Short Report: The Attack on the Kebab Restaurant

On September 9, 2020, during the 11th day of the trial against the accused of the Halle attack, the main topic was the attack on the kebab restaurant. Several witnesses who met the attacker in the kebab shop or in the surrounding area testified. In addition, a police inspector of the LKA was questioned, who was on duty at the day of the attack in the area of the kebab place. Since two witness statements were postponed at short notice, the presiding judge decided to use the spare time to view the video of the crime from the atteacker’s body cam.

The trial day began with the interrogation of the witness Margit W. She claims to have been walking along Ludwig-Wucherer-Straße and to have met the attacker there. She said the situation was completely unreal. “He didn’t say anything, and neither did I, and that was certainly my great luck, otherwise I would have ended up the same as the woman at the synagogue.” Ms. W. was hit by a nail in the foot, which came from a nail bomb that the accused threw at the kebab restaurant. But she did not think about the pain anymore when she ran away. “I only thought, if he shoots now…” Later in the hospital she was interrogated before she could go home with her husband. Today she says about the crime: “In retrospect I thought, ‘That was your second birthday'”. Her family had supported her very much after the experience.

The second witness was Dr. Bernd H. On the day of the attack, he was visiting Halle for a conference and wanted to get lunch in the kebab shop. When the first shots were fired and the attacker stepped into the kebab restaurant, initially, he did not really realize what was going on. Only when another customer of the restaurant, Mr. H., shouted “Get out of here, otherwise he will shoot us all”, was he freed from his shock. He then fled through the back rooms of the restaurant. On his way through the bar he heard someone shouting “Please don’t shoot!” Mr. H. opened the window in the storage room and jumped out. When jumping onto the garbage can under the window, the 74-year-old fell down, suffered severe contusions and was unable to breathe for a while. “From that moment on I was terribly afraid that the attacker might come after me.” After the emergency services arrived, and he waited for a while in a nearby restaurant, his son picked him up and took him to the hospital. Representatives of the press came to his home on Saturday after the attack. He was very annoyed by the impertinence of bothering someone so soon after such an event without asking and by the fact that it was possible to find his private address at that time. The presiding judge said she could not explain this either. “Someone must have passed the address on.”

Mr. H. explained that he expected the trial to make it clear to society “that this is a deeply despicable crime and that, unfortunately, this crime originated from within society”. He recalled the testimony of the witness Max P. from the previous day, who had expressed his doubts that the accused could have made his preparations without the parents’ knowledge. Bernd H. said that he too had children. He said it was hard to imagine that the accused could have made his preparations without the perception of his immediate environment, his inhuman attitude, his fantasies and his preparations for the crime. When asked what motivated him to participate in the trial as a joint plaintiff, the witness initially spontaneously answered “Anger”. He wanted to make it clear to the perpetrator that he took a completely wrong path of development that had nothing to do with our legal system or moral sense at all. “A peaceful and prosperous society can only exist if people respect each other”. He felt obliged to face the accused as part of civil society and to tell him that he deserved the verdict that the court is likely to give him.

Following Mr. H.’s testimony, the accused’s second video of the crime was viewed. On the second day of the trial, the first video was presented, which the attacker recorded with his helmet camera and streamed online – the second video came from his body-cam, which recorded the events from a different perspective.

The third witness was Detective Commissioner P. from the LKA Saxony-Anhalt, who stepped in at short notice. After the attack, he was part of the crime scene squad in the area of the kebab restaurant. He was questioned following the crime scene report he had written. Numerous photographs of the crime scene and the traces found were examined. Among them were overview photographs of the restaurant and its surroundings, on which the exact location of the traces is marked, as well as detailed photographs of objects in evidence. For example, numerous bullets, bullet holes in a house wall and a homemade weapon were found. The screens on which visitors and members of the press can see the evidence were turned off when the photos of Kevin S.’s body were displayed.

The 11th day of the trial ended with the testimony of the witness Malek B. He was on his way to university when he encountered the attacker. When he saw the attacker, he ran away in fear for his life. He could not remember the moment well. “I didn’t know what to do, just run away, just run away”. Mr. B. said that he then ran to the train station because he knew that there was always police there. He still felt the after-effects of the attack, he reported on nightmares and sleeping problems, among other problems.

More witnesses from the synagogue and the kebab restaurant and its surroundings are to be heard next week. On September 15, Kevin S.’s father is expected to testify, whose son was shot in the kebab restaurant.