Sunday, April 14, 2013

Germany-Sweden Witch Doctor Trial Begins

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

Even though the racing season has ended, there is still plenty of action off the slopes. There has still not been a decision as to whether Lindsey Vonn's suit against the country of Slovenia will go to trial. We will keep our readers informed when a decision is made. However, the trial of Germany versus Sweden has started in the Mongolian capital city of Ulan Bator.  As our regular readers know, Sweden kidnapped Dr. Mabongo, the German team's witch doctor, during the World Championships in Schladming last February. For those who need their memories refreshed, please read this story and then this one. Here to talk with the Blickbild are German Ski Association (DSV) Alpine women's head trainer Thomas Stauffer and Swedish Ski Association (SSA) press officer Camilla Sandy.

BB: Why is this trial being held in Mongolia and not in Europe?
Stauffer: Normally this trial would be held in Austria, since that is where the crime took place.
Sandy: We don't really know that a crime was committed. Your side has to prove it. That is why we're having a trial. Since Germany borders Austria, we did not feel that it was possible to get an impartial jury if the trial were held in Austria.
Stauffer: We didn't want the trial moved to Sweden or the other Scandinavian countries for the same reason. A lot of countries came forward to host the trial. After deliberations by both our legal team and the Swedish one, Mongolia was chosen as a neutral site. The main reason for choosing Mongolia was that there are no Mongolians competing in the World Cup, so jury bias is eliminated.
BB: So the jurors will be Mongolian?
Sandy: That is correct.
BB: And the judge too?
Sandy: Right.
BB: That brings up the question of how the judge and jury will understand the testimony. Most Mongolians don't speak German or Swedish. There aren't too many German-Mongolian or Swedish-Mongolian interpreters.
Stauffer: The trial will be held in English with interpreters who speak both English and Mongolian.
BB: I see. Are both of your ski federations bringing in their own lawyers?
Sandy: Under Mongolian law, only Mongolian lawyers are allowed to work in the courts.
We are also not allowed to represent ourselves. But each of our federations has a legal team who is providing information to our respective Mongolian lawyers.
BB: Aren't you worried about crucial information being lost because of poor translating?
Stauffer: The court assured us that both of our legal teams are being provided with excellent interpreters.
BB: I saw the witness lists for both sides and noticed some who don't speak English, most notably Dr. Mabongo. He was the victim in this case.
Sandy: Excuse me, but nobody has proven that he was a kidnapping victim. You are assuming that we are guilty before we even go to trial.
Stauffer: Your team kidnapped Dr. Mabongo and you know it! Just confess now and we won't have the need for this trial.
Sandy: We did nothing wrong. And even if we did, you have to prove it.
BB: Let's save the arguments over whether a crime was committed or not for the courtroom.
Stauffer: Back to the subject of interpreters...Dr. Mabongo will be using the interpreter that the Blickbild provided when its intrepid reporters went to the Congo to find him. (see this story ). That interpreter speaks 12 languages fluently including German, English, Swedish, Mandarin, Arabic, Russian, Dr. Mabongo's Congolese dialect, and Mongolian.
BB: Has the jury already been selected?
Sandy: Yes. In this case there will be nine jurors. They also don't have to come to a unanimous decision. A majority decision is all that's required, though I have heard that the jurors are encouraged to come to the same decision to reach a verdict.
BB: What is the jury composition?
Sandy: It is all male. From the information that I was given, they are yak herders, factory workers, and one is a captain in the Mongolian army. The army captain is the jury leader.
BB: In Western countries jury members are told not to read or watch news reports about the case that they are on. Are the jurors in this case required to follow the same procedure?
Stauffer: Since there are no Mongolian World Cup skiers, the odds of this trial being in the newspaper or on TV are very slim.
Sandy: I have to disagree. I bet that there is a lot of publicity because of its unusual nature. It's not a normal theft or murder trial.
Stauffer: It most certainly is a theft trial! You stole our witch doctor!
Sandy: You have no proof that we stole your witch doctor. Sweden is innocent and this trial will prove it.
BB: Will the judge be telling the legal teams to follow Austrian or Mongolian law? Kidnapping for ransom is a serious crime in Austria. I'm sure it also is in Mongolia, even though more yaks are stolen than people. 
Sandy: Nobody has proven that there was a kidnapping. We are innocent until proven guilty.
Stauffer: Maybe in Austria you are innocent until proven guilty. But your federation is guilty and both of us know it!
Sandy: That's for the judge and jury to decide. The last time I checked, you are not a lawyer, judge, or jury member. You will have to wait for the end of the trial like the rest of us.
Stauffer: To answer your question, the Austrians will be educating the Mongolians on Austrian laws regarding abduction. They should follow Austrian law since everything happened in Austria. But the judge could also refer to Mongolian law if there is a conflict. If Mongolia's kidnapping laws are stricter than Austria's, I hope that they will be applied to this case.
Sandy: We are not concerned about which laws are being used as a reference because Sweden is innocent. This case should never have come to trial! Herr Stauffer, you and the DSV are big bullies who have nothing better to do than accuse Sweden of a crime that it didn't commit.
BB: Before this gets out of hand, there is one more question for both of you. Can either of you tell our readers what the opening statements will be?
Stauffer: Each side will present its opening statements tomorrow. We will present evidence that Dr. Mabongo was indeed kidnapped by the Swedish team during the World Championships. Our legal team will focus on the following: Dr. Mabongo missing from the DSV's hotel, the ransom demand, and that he was found inside a Swedish skier's speed suit. We will also talk about how Sweden had great performances in the team event at the World Championships until Dr. Mabongo was returned to us. We will also prove that Swedish skiers or trainers forced Dr. Mabongo to use voodoo dolls of Felix Neureuther and Croatian skier Filip Zubcic to force Felix to fall and injure his knee in the team event.
Sandy: We will show that Dr. Mabongo was not abducted by our team. Instead, we will prove that he came to us voluntarily because he was being abused by the DSV. There was no crime committed and our federation is totally innocent of all charges. We will also show that Germany is trying to prosecute us because we have a better technical men's ski team.
Stauffer: Felix Neureuther was better than Andre Myhrer this season. Felix won a silver medal in Schladming and Andre was fourth in the slalom. You are jealous!
BB: Our readers are certainly looking forward to this trial. I want to thank both of you for your time. We also have a team of our intrepid reporters in Ulan Bator to bring our readers all of the proceedings and the verdict. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: Our reporters are guilty of being intrepid.

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