Siegauen process: traumatized victims no longer have to say anything

Bonn –

The photo's repeated themselves: the many cameras that focus on the wooden door to the cells in the basement of the arrondissement of Bonn, the rattling of the keys and the first look at the man who is a camping couple robbed in the Siegauen in Bonn and the woman raped then. The 32-year-old Eric D. appears in handcuffs and cuffs, which are not taken from him. With difficulty the black African, escorted by two sergeants, comes to the dock.

Aggressiveness seems to have disappeared

Only on the second face it becomes clear that he is no longer the same: bandage in the neck, gauze on his arms – consequences of a fire in his cell, which he laid in February. He looks at himself without expression, his aggression seems to have disappeared. He did not protest in a second, not even when the old verdict was read: due to particularly serious rape and rapacious extortion, he was sentenced to 11 and a half years in prison by the 10th Grand Criminal Court in October 2017.

The verdict has not been pronounced: the federal court (BGH) has partially withdrawn the verdict. Yesterday started the second trial for the 3rd Great Criminal Court. The president Klaus Reinhoff: "In your debt," he said clearly in the direction of the defendant, "there is no doubt that you committed the crime is certain, but we must find a new punishment here." highest judges in Karlsruhe had complained that the reasoning was lacking, why should the personality disorder of the accused not have played a role in the act? Eric D. would suffer from a "dissocial personality disorder" that does not exclude limited liability. According to the judgment, however, this had no significance in the execution of the offense.

The new report about the son of a rich owner of a cocoa plant from Ghana is therefore central to the current process. The room has employed the famous psychiatrist Nahlah Saimeh. The long-standing director of the institution for mentally ill offenders in Eickelborn, Westphalia, Germany, has left a mark as an expert in the lawsuit against the horror house of Höxter. Should the 52-year-old come to the conclusion that the accused was still partially guilty, this could lead to a milder punishment.

Traumatized couple expresses in writing

The second important question in this procedure was whether the heavily traumatized couple should be heard as a witness again. The room has found a humane solution for this. The two victims were asked to make a written statement as it had been since the last hearing. The two letters were read yesterday.

"When we heard the verdict was lifted, we were shocked, everything seemed to start over, an endless odyssey! Every second of this cruel night to tell again, what a nightmare!", Writes the 27-year-old Master's student. "I lost the lightness of life that night," says the 25-year-old. Since then she has been impulsive, apathetic, an "old leached woman". "We do masks and tell us that everything is going well again, and we can only survive with this structure," said the young woman. The darkness is a threat to them and even the rustle of leaves drives them in a panic.

One year is not enough to understand what happened to them in this horror night. This stranger who had pruned the tent with a pruning saw, so that they felt threatened – "like small caged animals in the trap" – begging for their lives. He was not satisfied with six euros of loot, not even with the loudspeaker box. Then he wanted the woman, she told her to come out, always with the hacksaw at the ready. The student surrendered to the rapist, for fear, but also to save both. Her friend had sent the emergency call in the tent.

At the end of the first day of the trial, an important decision was made for the young couple: "After these letters," says Reinhoff, "we no longer need to hear the two witnesses." Victim Attorney Gudrun Roth responded with relief: "I am glad you will be spared a renewed confrontation."

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