It was a year ago. On the night of June 2, 2019, Walter Lübcke was found shot in the head on the terrace of his house in Kassel (Hesse), capital of the district of which this 65-year-old man was the prefect, near of Frankfurt. Two weeks later, a suspect was arrested. Former member of the neo-Nazi NDP party, already sentenced to six years in prison for having detonated a bomb in front of a home for asylum seekers in 1993, Stephan Ernst first confessed before withdrawing and accusing one of his comrades, without convincing the investigators. The shock was immense: for the first time since the end of the Second World War, a government official was assassinated by a far-right activist in Germany.
On Tuesday June 16, the trial of Stephan Ernst opened before the regional superior court (Oberlandesgericht) from Frankfurt. Largely occupied by the reading of the indictment, this first hearing was intended to set the scene, returning in particular to this October 14, 2015 where, according to the prosecutor, Stephan Ernst began to harbor for Walter Lübcke an obsessive hatred which was going to drive him, four years later, to shoot him down at his home.
October 14, 2015. That evening, the prefect Lübcke holds a public meeting in Lohfelden, near Kassel. In the midst of the refugee crisis, this former regional elected official, member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) of Angela Merkel, is trying to implement, on the ground, the policy of reception of refugees decided by the Chancellor German. “Wir schaffen das” (“We will get there”), she said a month earlier. Concretely, this notably involves the installation of refugee homes all over the country, and in particular in the village of Lohfelden, which Walter Lübcke explained to his fellow citizens.
But the meeting that evening took place in a particularly tense atmosphere. Among the 800 people present in the room, some supporters of Kagida, the local branch of the Islamophobic movement Pegida, founded in Saxony a year earlier, play the disturbers. Stephan Ernst is among them. From the podium, Mr. Lübcke answers them by evoking the “Values” from Germany, and states: “Those who do not share these values can leave the country. “
Filmed and posted on social networks, the exchange is widely relayed on far-right websites, where Mr. Lübcke becomes the embodiment of “Traitor to the fatherland”. Three months later, Stephan Ernst stabbed an Iraqi refugee, seriously injured. But as much as the migrants, it is those who welcome them that he continues to rage with. Starting with Lübcke, whom he would have promised to “Hang” after having attended the meeting of October 14, 2015, according to the testimony of Markus Hartmann, his alleged accomplice, who appears with him before the court in Frankfurt.
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