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Wüst apologizes to Cologne NSU victims

20 years after the attack
Wüst apologizes to Cologne NSU victims

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20 years ago, a nail bomb exploded in Cologne. 22 people were injured. The police initially investigated the victims' environment. But the attack was actually carried out by right-wing extremists. NRW Prime Minister Wüst now found words of regret for the victims.

20 years after the attack by the right-wing extremist terrorist group NSU in Cologne's Keupstrasse, the North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst has apologized to those affected for the authorities' mistakes. “The state, whose primary task is to protect people, must admit that it failed to do so in Keupstrasse,” wrote the CDU politician in a guest article for the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger” and the Turkish newspaper “Hürriyet”.

“The state did not protect people.” It did not protect them from physical and psychological harm or from false suspicions, Wüst stressed. “As Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, I therefore apologize to everyone who was not believed for so long and who were wrongly targeted by the investigations themselves, even though they were victims.”

On June 9, 2004, a nail bomb attack rocked Cologne's Keupstrasse, which is characterized by many Turkish shops. 22 people were injured, some of them critically. For a long time, the police suspected that the perpetrators were close to the victims. Only later was the attack attributed to the right-wing extremist NSU (“National Socialist Underground”). On Sunday, the attack will be commemorated in the presence of Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Demand for democratic center

In his guest article, Wüst complained that the residents of Keupstrasse had “not only had to experience the shock of the attack and the fear for their own lives, but also prejudice and defamation.” In some cases, even those affected and their relatives were investigated. Society and the media had also made mistakes, as shown by the introduction of the “unspeakable term 'kebab murders'.” “Narrow-minded thinking in intellectual boxes” was the source of the errors, wrote Wüst.

“Especially now, when right-wing extremist parties are once again successfully pursuing politics with prejudice and exclusion, the democratic center must stand together against such thinking,” demands the CDU politician. North Rhine-Westphalia has learned from its mistakes. The police and the judiciary “today reflect the social diversity of our country more strongly.”

The NSU carried out bomb attacks and robberies in Germany for years. The right-wing extremist cell murdered a total of ten people before it was discovered at the end of 2011 when Mundlos and Böhnhardt took their lives in a caravan. Two years later, the NSU trial began before the Higher Regional Court (OLG) in Munich. The surviving NSU perpetrator Beate Zschäpe was sentenced to life imprisonment, and four co-defendants who were NSU helpers were sentenced to prison terms of between two and a half and ten years.

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