- Every single response to my tentative
announcement that I was considering going to Germany to testify in Ernst's
trial as to the ownership of the Zundelsite has been a horrified:
FOR HEAVEN'S SAKES, DON'T GO!!!
- The best response, I think, came from
a supporter who simply wrote on a white sheet of paper: "Come
into my parlor," the spider said to the fly ---"
- So don't worry - I won't do anything
foolish or reckless. Which does not mean this invitation can't be
turned around and used to our advantage.
- At any rate, especially for those of
you who have had legal training, here is the letter I received. Your
feedback is sought and invited.
- Certified translation from German into
- Landgericht Mannheim
- [Mannheim Regional Court]
- Case Number: 6 KLs 503 Js 4/96
- Criminal proceedings against Ernst Zundel
- on suspicion of incitement to hatred
and violence against segments of the population [Volksverhetzung] and other
- Dear Dr. Rimland:
- The Mannheim Regional Court is considering
examining you as a witness in the criminal proceedings against your husband,
Ernst Zundel. The primary facts in issue are the setup and ongoing
operation of the Internet site "Zundelsite.org." As an
American citizen, you are certainly not obligated to appear following a
summons from a German court in Germany. Moreover, no coercive measures
may be imposed upon you. The court may, however, attempt to achieve
your summons or your examination through officials in the USA by means
of judicial assistance.
- I should like to inform you in advance,
however, that pursuant to § 1 No 2 of the German Code of Criminal
Procedure [Strafprozeßordnung (StPO)], as the wife of the accused
you have the right to refuse to testify anyway. In other words, even
if you were examined by American officials by means of judicial assistance,
you would not need to give any testimony in the matter. Pursuant
to § 55 Para. 1 StPO, you also have the right to refuse to respond
to such questions if answering them would place either yourself, a family
member, or your husband in danger of prosecution for a criminal act.
Based upon suspicion of your joint responsibility for the "Zundelsite.org"
Web site, the Mannheim Public Prosecutor's Office is also currently conducting
investigative proceedings against you on suspicion of incitement to hatred
and violence against segments of the population, according to a notice
from the Mannheim Public Prosecutor's Office. Given the current state
of affairs, it is hard to conceive of questions to which a response would
not place you or your husband in danger of criminal prosecution (primarily
on suspicion of incitement to hatred and violence against segments of the
population pursuant to § 130 of the German penal code [Strafgesetzbuch
(StGB)]. You would therefore be fully entitled to refuse to give
testimony pursuant to § 55 StPO.
- In the present criminal proceedings
against your husband, therefore, you could be examined in the matter only
if you are prepared to give testimony. The court therefore requests
that you notify it as to whether you are prepared to give testimony as
a witness in the present criminal proceedings against your husband, or
whether you are invoking your right as a witness to avoid self-incrimination
pursuant to § 52 StPO or your right to refuse to divulge information
pursuant to § 55 StPO. In this case, all further attempts
to obtain testimony from you would be pointless.
- If you are prepared to testify, however,
then an examination in the main proceedings before the Mannheim Regional
Court at a date to be determined would be the first option. The court
would insure your safe conduct for this purpose, i.e. you would not be
in danger of being arrested or otherwise bothered in relation to the aforementioned
investigative proceedings by the Mannheim Public Prosecutor's Office.
The expenses of your travel and accommodation would be reimbursed.
- If you are not prepared to appear for
examination in person before the Mannheim Regional Court, examination via
a videoconference link would also be possible. You would then travel
to an as yet undetermined location in the USA, such as a German consulate
in your vicinity, and the sound and image of your testimony would be transmitted
to the courtroom. If you are not prepared to do this, then there
is the final option of having a consular official conduct your examination
on commission. Your personal testimony in Mannheim or examination
via videoconference link would be preferable, however, because the participants
in the proceedings, including your husband, would then have the opportunity
to address questions directly to you.
- In conclusion, I therefore request your
response to the following questions:
- 1. Are you prepared to give testimony
in the criminal proceedings against your husband before the Mannheim Regional
Court on suspicion of incitement to hatred and violence against segments
of the population [Volksverhetzung] and other penal provisions, or do you
refuse to give testimony based upon the aforementioned rights und §
52 and § 55 StPO ?
- 2. If you are prepared to give testimony,
- a. are you prepared to appear as a witness
(with a guarantee of safe conduct) before the Mannheim Regional Court at
a date to be determined, and to give testimony as a witness in the matter?
- b. Are you otherwise prepared to participate
in an examination via videoconference link and to give testimony as a witness
in the matter?
- c. Are you otherwise prepared to have
a German official in the USA conduct your examination on commission and
to give testimony as a witness in the matter?
- I would like to point out that you are
not obligated to answer these questions. In the interest of expeditious
handling of the present criminal proceedings against your husband, which
would surely also be important for you since your husband is in pretrial
detention, the court would be very thankful if you would show your cooperation
by answering the questions listed above. Otherwise the court must
consider an attempt to approach you through officials in the USA by means
of judicial assistance.
- Dr. Meinerzhagen
- Presiding Judge of the Landgericht [Regional