German Court OKs Arson Damages
May. 16, 2000
WUPPERTAL, Germany (AP) _ A court on Tuesday ordered four German arsonists to pay damages to survivors of Germany's worst xenophobic attack _ a 1993 fire that left two Turkish women and three girls dead.
All told, the survivors were awarded well over $100,000. But chances the victims will be paid are remote: The four neo-Nazis who set fire to a house in the western city of Solingen as two Turkish families slept inside are serving long prison terms and have no income or assets.
Atnan Erdal, the lawyer for the victims, said he had sued for damages to discourage similar attacks.
``Even if those damaged won't see any money, potential criminals must know that in addition to long prison terms, they will have to reckon with high financial restitution,'' he said.
In the court ruling, Bekir Genc was awarded $116,000 and a monthly disability pension for burn injuries suffered in the blaze. Ahmet Ince, who lost his 27-year-old wife Gursun in the attack, was awarded $3,700 by the state court. His daughter, Gueldane, was awarded $4,650.
In addition, the attackers must pay medical costs for the treatment of the survivors, Judge Volker Mengel ruled.
The May 29, 1993 fire in Solingen, 25 miles north of Cologne, was the worst in a series of xenophobic attacks that raised international concerns following German unification in 1990. Durmus and Mevlude Genc, longtime German residents as ``guest workers,'' lost two daughters, two granddaughters and a niece. The youngest was four years old.
Four young Germans, ages 16 to 23 at the time of the attack, were convicted on murder and attempted murder charges. They received jail sentences of between 10 and 15 years.
Jochen Ohliger, a lawyer representing the two youngest men convicted in the attack, said he would not appeal Tuesday's decision.