World News

German police investigation into neo-Nazi killers a 'fiasco' - report

(Reuters) - A German police investigation into a neo-Nazi killing spree was a “fiasco”, a report by a parliamentary committee in one of Germany’s states said on Thursday.

The National Socialist Underground (NSU) murdered 10 people, mostly ethnic Turks, from 2000 to 2007.

“The accumulation of wrong decisions, indecision and neglect of basic standards also justify the suspicion of intended sabotage and of knowingly foiling the apprehension of the fugitives,” the report said.

It said the police “did not pursue information insistently” and “massively underestimated the growing violence of the militant far right”.

The state criminal police did not seriously follow up sightings of two NSU members and failed to apprehend one member in 1998 after discovering explosives in his garage, the report said.

The NSU murdered eight Turks, a Greek and a policewoman between 2000 and 2007. The police initially failed to link the shootings, which were all carried out with the same gun.

They did not initially consider the attacks to be a series of racially motivated crimes, instead focusing their investigation on the personal lives of the victims.

The report asked relatives of the victims for forgiveness for “harbouring mistrust and racist suspicions towards them”.

Holger Bellino, leader of the Christian Democrats (CDU) in the regional parliament of Hesse, said right-wing extremism was a disgrace to Germany.

“We abhor these crimes, and will do everything possible to ensure nothing like this ever happens again,” he said.

Reporting by Bethan John and Helen Cahill; editing by Andrew Roche