It is unusual for interpreters to testify in court. But in the case of Ali K., a translation is an important piece of evidence. Because it contains a statement that heavily incriminates the murder suspect.
The Berlin prosecutor accuses Ali K., he had murdered in September 2006, the then 14-year-old Georgine Kruger and make her body disappear without a trace. Only ten years later, the 44-year-old was targeted by the investigators. As of April 2017, they monitored his phones and those of his family members, cut thousands of conversations. Undercover investigators won his trust, one of them Ali K. finally told in October 2018 how Georgine Krüger died (read more here).
The investigator recorded everything, later translated two interpreters from Turkish into German. 200 pages includes the document. It was made by Ayten Bozbay and Mesut Öncü, experienced in their field. For over 40 years, they have been practicing their profession. They mainly work for the Berlin police.
However, the defenders of Ali K. doubt the correctness of their translation. That's why Bozbay and Öncü testify before the Berlin district court. Her comments allow a detailed look into the case - and a coup of the 2nd Berlin Homicide.
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This coup succeeded the unit with the support of three undercover investigators: "Hakan" had befriended Ali K. in his Berlin neighborhood and introduced him to his girlfriend "Susann" and his alleged cousin "Kara". He lived in Frankfurt am Main. "Kara", attractive, sporty and seemingly wealthy, was soon the best buddy of the rather inconspicuous and slender casual craftsman Ali K.
Alik K. traveled to "Kara" on 30 October 2018 to see his new apartment, interpreter Ayten Bozbay told the court. Ali K. should renovate it. The two men were on the road for six hours: talking in the car, in the restaurant, in the apartment that was to be renovated, and in the brothel.
She knows his secret
According to the translator Bozbay, the men talked mainly about a conflict they had been talking about for about three months. "Kara", so the legend of the undercover investigator, was allegedly in a relationship with a woman with whom he would only argue. A separation from her is impossible, since this friend knows a secret with which she blackmailed him: She knew that he had killed a man.
"I'll show you where the problem is," said "Kara" in one of the recorded conversations. He pointed to the translator probably on a photo of a clock. "This is a special watch from Kuwait." The Kuwaiti president had made only a small number of these watches and gave them away, even on the alleged victims.
"The clock is worth 12, 13,000 euros I have not thrown them away in anger You are thrown a thing for 13,000 euros!", Said "Kara". "I was so brave that I wore the watch, because I was sure no one else knows it." But his girlfriend had identified the clock and now carry it as a pledge. "Kara" is afraid that she could make contact with the other watch owners: "My murder will be shaken up," Bozbay translated from Turkish. Meaning: The thing could fly up.
Ali K. vied for the job
The men agreed that the ex-girlfriend must be killed. And Ali K. literally vied for the € 150,000 order, the interpreter found in the witness box.
Ali K. obviously did not have any mistrust at all. "'Kara' was something special for him, there's even a passage where he tells him that," recalls Bozbay. The otherwise rather emotionless and rather taciturn Ali K. had been solved in the presence of "Kara" principle, have unfolded a real need for communication.
Also on that October day in 2018, the day of his confession, the men would have talked openly and loosely together. Bozbay's colleague had the impression: "Two jailmates face each other and tell about their crimes."
Bernd Settnik / DPA
Search action by the police at Brieselang in April 2018: "She was unconscious"
The men had already spent two and a half hours together in Frankfurt. They sat in a vehicle. It seemed to rain, because the sound of windshield wipers can be heard in the recording, which is played in the courtroom.
In this situation, Ali K. apparently decided to persuade his friend "Kara" that the killing of his girlfriend would not be due to his client. He told him about the then officially unexplained murder of Georgine Kruger. "It was not that he showed remorse," says the interpreter. "That was not the voice color, it was more like, I'm telling you a secret."
The interpreter could hear the defendant gesticulating as he had beaten his victim. Ali K. clapped his hands and said "stalemate". "That means he used a flat object," the witness explains. Then she heard the words, "I hit her, she was gone, she was unconscious." Almost three quarters of an hour, Ali K. described the events. He said in the conversation that he had never talked about it before. Ayten Bozbay says in court, she had the scene very well imagine: "I suspect that Mr. K. 'Kara' also went to the collar, so nose to nose across."
For two weeks, the two interpreters worked on the translation of the Frankfurt Talk. Her job was to write a wordlog. The testimony of the two witnesses makes it clear that this was interpreted generously. So they put together passages that investigators considered unimportant.
The interpreter Bozbay also confessed that she had become accustomed to translating "fuck" into any crude and sexist curses commonly used by Turkish men. But no one can tell if a member of the interrogation just wanted to say "crap" or is actually a sexist misogynist.
With the help of someone who speaks Turkish, the defenders also want to have come across passages that one would have had to translate differently. For example, Veit Busse-Muskala complains about the sentence: "She was not a virgin." That is what Kara said to Ali K. Busse-Muskala asks at the hearing whether it should rather be called, "She was a young woman, you said."
The interpreter excludes a translation error: "These two statements are definitely different." Whether the two lawyers who do not speak Turkish have really consulted with someone who knows this language? She advises the defense lawyers, "You should avoid looking at the Google translator."