BVB defender Bartra testifies at bus attack trial

AP Photo/Martin Meissner

BERLIN (AP) Borussia Dortmund defender Marc Bartra testified Monday at the trial of a man accused of bombing the soccer team’s bus last year, saying that he was afraid of dying in the attack.

The Apr. 11 blasts shattered a window of the bus and hit Bartra with shrapnel, leaving the team without the Spanish defender for about a month after he had to undergo surgery on a broken bone in his wrist. A police officer also was hurt in the explosions, which hit the bus as it left a hotel in Dortmund for a Champions League match against Monaco.

The 28-year-old suspect, who has been identified only as Sergej W. in line with German privacy rules, told the Dortmund state court earlier this month that he carried out the attack but didn’t intend to kill or hurt anyone.

Bartra appeared as a witness Monday. He said in a statement read by lawyer Alfons Becker: “I feared for my life. I feared I would never see my family again.”

“When I remember it, I don’t feel good,” he said, news agency dpa reported.

Dortmund’s star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was also due to appear Monday, but Becker told the court that “he won’t testify today because he is ill.” A note from Dortmund’s team doctor didn’t give details.

Prosecutors and the presiding judge indicated that they weren’t impressed with the explanation. There was no immediate decision on whether Aubameyang might face a fine.

Prosecutors allege that W. took out a loan to place a bet that Borussia Dortmund’s shares would drop in value, then bombed the bus and tried to disguise the attack as Islamic terrorism. Dortmund is the only German soccer club whose shares are listed on the stock exchange.

The defendant has testified that he was trying to fake an attack and designed the explosives in such a way “that no harm to people could be expected.”