NewsThe court wants to announce the verdict in the...

The court wants to announce the verdict in the "Tiergartenmord" trial

A man is shot in the middle of Berlin. For more than a year, Berlin judges tried to clarify the background. Now your judgment is due. This can have serious political consequences – and trigger a diplomatic crisis.

Berlin – The Berlin Court of Appeal wants to speak its verdict in the so-called Tiergartenmord trial today. For more than a year, the judges tried to clarify the background to the shooting of a Georgian of Chechen descent in August 2019 in the middle of Berlin.

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office is assuming an order from Russian government agencies and has applied for life imprisonment. The ruling could have serious political consequences and bring the new federal government into a diplomatic crisis.

Accusation: contract killer with bogus identity

The accused is a 56-year-old Russian who is said to have traveled to Berlin with a bogus identity. He is said to have shot the 40-year-old Georgian in the Kleiner Tiergarten park on August 23, 2019. The man killed, who had been living as an asylum seeker in Germany since the end of 2016, had been classified as a terrorist by Russian authorities.

The federal prosecutor sees this as the motive for the killing. The man was seen as an enemy of the state in particular because he fought against Russia in the Chechnya war. The accused is an officer of the Russian domestic secret service FSB and has been given a false identity for the contract killing. The Federal Prosecutor’s Office sees the murder characteristics of maliciousness and low motives fulfilled and requested that the particular gravity of the guilt be determined, which almost excludes a release from prison after 15 years.

Defense: No solid evidence

The defense does not see any conclusive evidence for the version of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office. It is based in part on “highly questionable evidence,” said defense attorney Robert Unger. This applies to the identity of the accused, but also to the connection to the Russian state assumed by the Federal Prosecutor’s Office. At the beginning of the trial, the accused himself had declared through his lawyers that his name was Vadim S., 50 years old and a civil engineer. The man denied ties to the Russian state.

If the court follows the arguments of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, the ruling could further strain German-Russian relations. The federal government had already drawn the first conclusions after the Federal Prosecutor started the investigation and accused the Russian government of a lack of cooperation. Two employees of the Russian embassy in Berlin were therefore expelled.

At a press conference in Paris, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the murdered Georgian, who is said to have fought on the side of the separatists in the Russian republic of Chechnya, a “bandit” and “murderer”. These statements had shown that the Georgian who had been killed had been viewed as a terrorist “up to the highest levels of government”, said the Federal Prosecutor’s Office in its plea. dpa

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