The defendant was "rejected" by the Rigaer Strabe autonomists. That’s why he wanted to blame the scene for his crime.
Yes, where is he? Photo: dpa
It could have been a big blow against Berlin’s radical left scene. On the night of July 5 to 6 last year, police officers from the LinX special investigation group caught a car arsonist red-handed.
Two weeks earlier, the autonomous house project Rigaer Strabe 94 in Friedrichshain had been partially cleared with the support of 300 officers. This was followed by a series of arson attacks and damage to property. With the help of a specially founded task force, then Senator of the Interior Frank Henkel (CDU) wanted to track down the alleged left-wing perpetrators.
On Tuesday, the trial of Marcel G., who was arrested at the time, began under high security measures at the Berlin Regional Court with a confession. The 27-year-old described how he had placed barbecue lighters on the tires of three cars in Tasdorfer Strasse in the Lichtenberg district and ignited them with a lighter.
"I wanted to punch the left-wing scene in the face," G. said. His aim was to "blame the leftists" for the arson so that the police would make sure that Rigaer Strabe would "finally be quiet".
He had spontaneously decided to commit his crime when he was attacked by a group of masked autonomists in the evening in the Friedrichshain danger zone.
Expelled from the scene
For them, G. is indeed no stranger. For some time, G. had been hanging around in the left-wing radical spectrum – until he was publicly outed there as an informer of the authorities. He had repeatedly had problems because of this, and had been "hounded" and "cast out". Through new acquaintances, G. then made contact with the right-wing extremist Bargida movement, at which he had also appeared as a speaker.
The judge wanted to know why he had set small cars on fire and not luxury cars: "How could such a connection to a left-wing political background arise?" G. laughed – and explained to the judge: "Leftists don’t just set fire to posh cars."
Several times G. emphasized that he regretted his deed. Already after he had deposited the barbecue lighters, he had considered removing them again, said G. But then he had been surprised by the police officers who had noticed him before.
Informer of the authorities
G. had already been arrested in July 2012 after an arson in Hamburg. According to interrogation protocols published on the Internet portal Indymedia, G. had been an accomplice of the authorities. presented to the officials at the time as an "insider" of the Berlin left-wing scene who wanted to get out.
He described the house project Rigaer94 together with the pub "Kadterschmiede" as a meeting place for militant actions. The property then appeared for the first time in the following Berlin report on the protection of the constitution for 2012 (pdf) – as a "central institution of Berlin’s violent autonomous scene."
The extent to which G. had been active as an accessory to the authorities did not play a role on this day of the trial. Only at one point did the defendant contradict the public insinuations of having been a "V-man": "I did not cooperate with the police."
Two more trial dates will follow until the verdict is pronounced. Already on Thursday, on the other hand, the eviction trial against the "Kadterschmiede" will take place. For burning cars the scene must provide then again itself. The Soko LinX has been dissolved in the meantime.