Friday 6 June 2003

Anti-Israel German Politician Did Not Kill Himself: Friends

Colour me stupid but if one decides to kill oneself by chucking one's arse out of an aeroplane, why in the name of Flying Elephants would you open the parachute?

Friends of Germany’s former deputy chancellor Juergen Moellemann, who died Thursday, June 5, in a parachute jump, refuted media reports he committed suicide to escape state prosecution over his pro-Arabs and Muslims and anti-Israel stances.

They asserted he intended to set up a new party and called on Arab and Muslim communities to join up.

One of the prominent German politician’s close associates added there was nothing that could have possibly pushed him to commit suicide.

A former advertising executive and a vigorous self- promoter, Moellemann has enjoyed a high morale at recent days, he said.

The same argument was supported by an eyewitness who told the NTV news channel the deceased handled his parachute easily and calmly before his skydiving, excluding any possible suicide attempt.

"Moellemann went into freefall and apparently did not manage to open the reserve parachute," said state prosecutor Wolfgang Reinicke, who is investigating the death.

No suicide note had been found and police were trying to determine the circumstances surrounding the fatal fall in a barley field near the western town of Marl, he added.

His parachute opened normally, but on the way down it separated from his harness "for reasons that are entirely unclear," Reinicke told a news conference.

He then fell away from the chute at under 3,200 feet and the reserve parachute did not open, an experienced parachutist who saw the fatal jump was quoted as saying.

Reinicke put three possibilities for the death of Moellemann, a former economy minister and deputy chancellor from 1991 to 1993 when the Free Democratic Party (FDP) was junior partner in a coalition with the conservatives under Helmut Kohl.

"We are of course investigating all possibilities. The range of possibilities in such a case is very large. You can put them in three categories — an accident, a suicide or sabotage, for instance manipulation of the parachute by another person."

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