Welcome Söring news for once! [dt. Übersetzung folgt in Kürze]
During Jens Söring’s rounds of interviews with various German news outlets, every German reporter has obediently complied with a demand imposed by Jens Söring (and/or his lawyer Stephan Grulert, and his PR agency Dederichs, Reinecke, and Partner):1
Never mention the name of Andrew Hammel. Never.
You may refer to “a person” or a “writer” or a “former defense lawyer” who doubts his claims, but you may not mention the four fateful syllables: “An-drew Ham-mel”.
Reporters and interviewers twisted themselves into pretzels to avoid mentioning my name, even though I’m the author of one of the longest articles ever published on the website of Germany’s most prominent daily broadsheet, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Germans call it the FAZ, pronounced “fats”.
As is so often the case, it took a Swiss newspaper, the New Zurich Newspaper (Neue Zürcher Zeitung) to do what no German newspaper (except the FAZ, of course), did: to acknowledge and link to the work of a professional colleague. In the middle of a discussion of Söring’s innocence claims — toward which the reporter, Thomas Ribi, demonstrates welcome ambivalence — we read this passage (in my quick translation):
Even the best-selling writer John Grisham took up the case and described Söring’s conviction as a “monstrous miscarriage of justice”. However, there are other voices. The lawyer, criminal-law expert, and author Andrew Hammel, for instance, who, after an exhaustive examination of the facts, came to the conclusion that Söring is guilty, no doubt about it. His arguments sound convincing, to the extent that anything in this case is at all plausible.
[Selbst der Bestsellerautor John Grisham beschäftigte sich mit dem Fall und bezeichnete Sörings Verurteilung als «ungeheuren Justizirrtum». Es gibt allerdings auch andere Stimmen. Den Juristen, Strafrechtsexperten und Autor Andrew Hammel zum Beispiel, der nach eingehender Prüfung der Fakten zu dem Schluss kam, Jens Söring sei schuldig, es gebe keine Zweifel. Seine Argumente klingen schlüssig, soweit in diesem Fall überhaupt etwas plausibel ist.]
Jens Söring can’t have been happy about that. But then again, the purpose of journalistic interviews isn’t to flatter and comfort the subject. That’s a lesson many German journalists forget when it comes to Jens Söring.
- To be annoyingly pedantic about this, I do not yet have conclusive proof that Team Söring specifically asks or urges German journalists not to mention my name in return for making Söring available for an interview.
However, I believe this to be the case, based on information at my disposal. If Söring or his representatives wish to challenge my claim and furnish proof that it is incorrect, I will happily publish a retraction.
The reason for the name-taboo is simple: Team Söring doesn’t want readers of an interview with him to immediately be able to google my name and find my articles (they do so anyway, of course). North German Broadcasting, in response to my question why my name was not mentioned even though my work was, stated to me in an email that this was not at the request of Söring or his team, but rather for the following reason: “The mention of your name did not appear necessary to us in this context.” (Die Nennung Ihres Namens erschien uns in diesem Zusammenhang als nicht notwendig.)