By ANDREAS REHNOLT
Associated Press Writer
SOLINGEN, Germany (AP) – Two years after a fire set by
hate-filled youths ruined her life, the matriarch of a Turkish
family laid a wreath for the victims Monday and demanded life in
prison for the criminals.
Closing arguments were expected as early as this week in the
murder trial of four youths accused of torching a house on May 29,
1993, killing Mevlude Genc’s two daughters, two granddaughters and
a niece visiting from Turkey.
“Every day and every hour we live with suffering, as if we
ourselves had died,” Mrs. Genc said. “I want the criminals to
spend their lives in jail.”
The arson attack in Solingen, 12 miles north of Cologne, was the
crest of a wave of anti-foreigner crime and the single deadliest
act of violence in reunited Germany. It set off days of protests
and led to a crackdown on far-right groups.
Four youths were arrested within a week. Christian Riher, 18,
admitted guilt but now claims he acted alone.
Markus Gartmann, 25, withdrew his confession last month. The
other two youths, Felix Koehnen, 17, and Christian Buchholz, 21,
deny responsibility. A three-judge panel will decide whom to
convict and how to sentence.
Prosecutors claim the youths torched the house with gasoline,
but no traces of any accelerant were found. The defense has poked
holes in the prosecutor’s version of when the attack took place.
About 200 people attended a memorial Sunday night at the
hillside lot where the Genc house once stood in Solingen. The
burned-out frame was demolished late in 1993 and the site is now
marked only by a stone inscribed with the victims’ names.
Mrs. Genc lost her daughters Guersun, 28, and Hatice, 18;
granddaughters Huelya 9 and Suyime 4; and her niece Guelestan, 12.
(Copyright 1995 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)