Report on the anti-Semitic attack in Magdeburg (Sachsen-Anhalt) on 26.05.2021

The “Mobile Victim Counseling”, a specialized counseling center for victims of right-wing, racist and anti-Semitic violence in Saxony-Anhalt decided to support Mr. Ehsan Azali as a victim of an anti-Semitic attack on May 26, 2021 in Magdeburg. The legal representation in the criminal proceedings has been taken over by Dr. Kati Lang.

Background:

Mr. Azali was walking in the busy city center of Magdeburg at around 4:00 p.m. on May 26, 2021, when a group of four to five young men unknown to him asked him to stop. Mr. Azali was wearing a white kippa with a Star of David at the time. He ignored the request and walked faster. However, the group followed him and one of the men asked him to give him the kippah. When Mr. Azali did not do so, he was attacked by the man. An attempt was made to snatch the kippa from him by force. In the process, Mr. Azali was struck several times with his fist against his head and neck. The kippa fell to the ground. However, Mr. Azali was able to place his foot on it so that the attacker could not pick it up. The other people in the group supported the attacker by cheering him on. Only when a passerby shouted loudly for the perpetrators to stop, the attackers let go of Mr. Azali and the group fled. Mr. Azali was so shocked that he himself initially ran away, crossing a busy street without looking. The witness informed the police and also offered her help to Mr. Azali.

Mr. Azali was questioned by the police on the same day, which took several hours. Further interrogations took place later. Overall, Mr. Azali was very dissatisfied with the behavior of the police, which was perceived as very stressful for him in addition to the crime and he had the feeling that he was not treated like the victim, but like a perpetrator. With our support, Mr. Azali therefore also wrote a complaint against the police. The response from the Complaints Office was not satisfactory to Mr. Azali.

The anti-Semitism commissioner of the state of Saxony-Anhalt was informed about this case.

Criminal proceedings:

In the proceedings for attempted robbery and dangerous bodily harm, a defendant was identified. He was recognized with certainty by the witness and also by Mr. Azali. He was an 18-year-old Afghan at the time of the crime.

Attorney Lang had requested access to the files, which was initially refused by the Magdeburg District Court, as was the service of the indictment and the granting of an interpreter. Dr. Kati Lang then responded with a detailed statement in which she also requested that Mr. Azali be admitted as a joint plaintiff. She explained to the court that it would be unreasonable for Mr. Azali to represent his interests in court himself. In particular, the anti-Semitic motivation for the crime, its legal consequences and the accompanying psychological consternation must be taken into account here.

The Magdeburg District Court then announced that they had submitted the case to the Regional Court for review, since the defendant was still to be tried in another case. This involves the accusation of rape, which is why these proceedings are being conducted at the Magdeburg Regional Court. The proceedings for joint attempted robbery and dangerous bodily injury were taken over by the Magdeburg Regional Court. Mr. Azali was admitted as a joint plaintiff, represented by Dr. Kati Lang. Interpreter assistance was also granted. The trial will begin on August 15, 2022, and Mr. Azali has been summoned as a witness. As the defendants (in the rape proceedings) are juveniles, the trial will take place in the juvenile court and is not open to the public.

There was public coverage of the attack against Mr. Azali – https://www.mobile-opferberatung.de/26-05-2021-magdeburg/

The victim:

Mr. Ehsan Azali, born on 17.04.1999 in Karaj/Iran, is an Iranian citizen and Jewish. He has not publicly shown himself as a Jew in Iran and has only lived his Jewish identity in private for fear of repression. Because of his commitment to human rights, he was politically persecuted and fled to Germany. He is recognized here as a refugee.