05 April 2012

Addressee unknown

Now we understand why the court doesn't believe that it is possible to invite witnesses from India or Somalia to Germany.

Even the Hamburg remand prison is unable to deliver a letter despite there being a quite stringent 'registration system' - something the court said was missing in Somalia and therefore it was hopeless to try and serve a summons there. We received this photo of three letters to a prisoner which were returned to the sender with the remark that the person was not known at this address, although the full name (the surname was covered for the photo) and correct address were given.

Investigations with the prison post office revealed that the name was missing a 'c' and therefore the computer didn't recognise the name. The spelling used on the envelopes was the spelling used in the official court records that were published at the beginning of the trial. Somewhere along the line, the court has discovered that the name was spelled incorrectly and decided to change it.

This is something that happens to a lot of refugees, when their names are recorded without a translator being present.

One question remains: when it comes to the verdict, who will be sentenced? If the court uses the original spelling, the prison administration won't be able to find the prisoner. If the court uses the new spelling, the name won't match the person that was arrested.