Bavarian parliament starts asking the hard questions

Looking up at the Maximilianeum (MunichFOTO/Jeff Ely).

An inquiry committee of the Landtag (the Bavarian parliament) voted unanimously on the series of murder against mainly Turkish citizens. The serial murders, which left ten people dead and one wounded, took place in Germany between 2000 and 2006. The perpetrators called themselves Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund (National Socialist Underground or NSU). The target of these right-wing extremist-oriented crimes were predominantly immigrants of Turkish origin and one person of Greek origin. Five of the murders took place in Nuremberg and Munich alone.

The victims were mostly small business owners, who were shot in the face at close range in broad daylight. According to the parents of the Turkish victim who worked in an internet café, the police originally suspected foreign organised criminals. Furthermore, a German policewoman was also shot, and her partner on duty was critically wounded. Additional crimes, in particular a bomb attack, have allegedly been committed by the group, as well. The murderers, according to the acting Germany's Attorney General have Neo-Nazi links.

The German authorities have identified three suspects, Uwe Böhnhardt, Uwe Mundlos, and Beate Zschäpe as being responsible for both the murders and the attempted murders. Böhnhardt and Mundlos were found mortally wounded by police after they robbed a bank on 4 November 2011. Police say they committed suicide. Meanwhile, Zschäpe turned herself in on 11 November 2011. She will probably face charges of murder, attempted murder, arson, as well as belonging to a terrorist organization. The police discovered a name list of 88 people later, that included "two prominent members of the Munich's Bundestag - the Green MP Jerzy Montag and the CSU MP Hans-Peter Uhl - and representatives of Turkish and Islamic groups.

The purpose of this committee is to clarify if security authorities failed to adequately investigate the right-wing terrorism. Franz Schindler (SPD), chair of the committee, declared, "Co-operation between police and secret service (Verfassungsschutz) had not been optimal."

The committee has been instructed to tie up its work before the summer of 2013. The establishment of the committee has been given Ministerpresident Horst Seehofer's seal of approval. "It´s in the interest of all democrats," he said.

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