This procedure is “unusual”. This is how Mustafa Kaplan, Stephan E.’s defense attorney, describes the trial of Walter Lübcke’s murder. The lawyer also calls it “unusual” that a district president was killed because he campaigned for refugees. Kaplan rejects the historical classification of the federal prosecutor’s office, which spoke of the first right-wing extremist murder of a politician in a democratically constituted Germany since the assassination attempt on Walter Rathenau.
It is the 43rd day of the hearing and Stephan E.’s lawyers have the floor before the State Security Senate of the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court. There is not much to be gained in this process for them. There is hardly any doubt that her client will be convicted of the murder of the Kassel district president. And murder is a life sentence; There is no so-called sentencing. It was therefore expected that the attorneys would primarily be concerned with preventing preventive detention.
In Kaplan’s eyes, however, the act wasn’t even murder. When Stephan E. stepped onto Walter Lübcke’s terrace in the night of June 2, 2019, together with Markus H. – as E. describes it – he saw H. first. Then E. came along with a gun in hand. From that moment on, Walter Lübcke could no longer be “innocent”, a prerequisite for the murderous feature of maliciousness. This applies at the latest to the moment of exchange that took place between the three people before the shot. E. also did not act out of “low motives”, says Kaplan. His mandate was not guided by the “egotistical” motives typical of this characteristic, rather he pursued a “political goal”.
The “erroneous” assumptions Stephan Es
Also because of the rampant “right-wing populist agitation”, E. “erroneously” assumed that he was acting in the “general interest”. Kaplan quotes a message that the defendant sent to his mother after the Lohfelden citizens’ meeting. In it E. insulted the Kassel district president as a “traitor”. Walter Lübcke, who in the eyes of the defendant preferred refugees to Germans, was also not an “anonymous representative of the state” for E., says the lawyer.
Then he tries an adventurous logic. Instead of recognizing that this is a racist ideology, he credits his client with acting for political reasons, not personal ones. Kaplan pleads for manslaughter and requests a prison sentence that is “proportionate, but also acceptable”. He asks the court to take into account the extensive and remorseful statements of his client in order to mitigate the penalty.
His colleague Jörg Hardies applies for an acquittal when it comes to allegations of attempted murder of Ahmed I. The young man from Iraq was stabbed to death on the evening of January 6, 2016, not far from the Lohfelden refugee accommodation; he had only fled to Germany shortly before. Ahmed I. survived the attack, seriously injured, and still suffers from the consequences today. His lawyer Alexander Hoffmann has applied for E. to be convicted of attempted murder.
The Federal Prosecutor’s Office is also convinced of Es guilt. Senior Public Prosecutor Dieter Killmer spoke of a “whole ring of circumstantial evidence”; central is the knife found at E. DNA traces had been found on it, which with some probability came from an Iraqi. The knife was also sharpened on both sides. At the age of 19 E. had already rammed a double-edged knife into the back of a Turkish imam.