Niece of German IRA victim pleads with Barack Obama to keep distance from Sinn Fein
A German woman whose aunt was murdered by the IRA has urged American President Barack Obama to distance himself from Sinn Fein.
Melanie Anan has written an emotional letter to Mr Obama, revealing how a photograph of him with Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and former IRA activist Rita O'Hare "devastated" her family.
Mrs Anan's aunt Heidi Hazell (26) was shot 12 times by the IRA on September 7, 1989 as she parked her car close to Unna Messen barracks, Dormund.
The IRA said at the time that they believed she was a member of the British Army. When it emerged she was a wife of soldier Clive Hazell, the IRA issued a warning against local people fraternising with soldiers.
Earlier this month Mrs Anan was granted access to Heidi's police case file by the German District Attorney's office.
She has claimed that the British Ministry of Defence was not at the time forthcoming with information over Heidi's death, and said she believed a number of witnesses did not come forward to the German police.
No one has been convicted over the murder, and Mrs Anan (41) is determined to finally find justice for her aunt.
Mrs Anan paid her first visit to Northern Ireland earlier this month as part of this hunt for justice.
She delivered a powerful speech to the Senate chamber at Stormont at part of European Day for Victims of Terrorism, as well as confronting Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly.
While here she also met senior members of the PSNI's Serious Crime Branch about the reopening of the murder inquiry in Germany into her aunt's murder.
A PSNI officer is set to jet out to Germany later this year to help with the investigation.
Now it can be revealed that Mrs Anan also plans to take her campaign to the White House.
In a letter to Barack Obama dated March 16, she described the last 25 years since Heidi's murder as "agony" and pleaded for his assistance.
Mrs Anan revealed that her grandfather and grandmother both suffered from strokes shortly after the murder and that her grandfather died from cancer in 2005 without seeing justice for his youngest daughter Heidi.
She wrote that new witnesses - who have not previously spoken to police - have come forward and may help the investigation.
Turning to the President's relationship with Sinn Fein, Mrs Anan urged Mr Obama to distance himself. "As we have been doing our research and inquiries as a family, we came across a picture of you and Gerry Adams; centered in the picture, Rita O'Hare, a wanted woman in Northern Ireland, as she shot a soldier in Northern Ireland," she wrote.
"This picture pains my family greatly, as it gives the appearance, that her crime of participation in a terrorist organization is sanctioned by the United States Government."
The letter continues: "Mr President, we appeal to you to assist our family in finding a resolution to this matter.
"My husband is a United States citizen, our children are United States citizens and we are appalled that the notion of complacency right down to sympathy could be entertained, but it clearly leaves the understanding to us and the people of Northern Ireland, that the illegal bearing of arms, which IRA/Sinn Fein has committed in order to strengthen their position negotiating 'peace' at their terms and gaining political strength through it, places them in a favorable light with the most powerful country in the world… our United States."
Mrs Anan added that she felt justice has failed her family and other victims of the IRA and that she wants her aunt's killers brought to justice.
'Mr President, justice has failed us and continues to fail us to this day'
Dear Mr President,
My family and I are writing you today as victims of terrorism. My aunt Heidi Hazell, a German citizen, was shot down by an IRA terrorist in Germany on the 7th of September 1989.
Heidi was a German citizen, 26 years of age at the time of her murder. The PIRA ASU claimed it had mistaken her for a British soldier and therefore deliberately sought her out and shot her, while she was sitting in her vehicle, with 12 bullets out of a Kalashnikov rifle.
Over 25 years of agony, pain and suffering have engulfed my family.
Today we are reviewing the case files and have been approached by witnesses that have come forward, witnesses which have never even been presented to the federal authorities in Germany. These witnesses... would have been instrumental in the investigation for the German authorities.
As we have been doing our research and inquiries as a family, we came across a picture of you and Mr Gerry Adams; centered in the picture, Rita O’Hare, a wanted woman in Northern Ireland, as she shot a soldier in NI. This picture pains my family greatly, as it gives the appearance that her crime is sanctioned by the United States government. Mr President, we appeal to you to assist our family in finding a resolution to this matter. My husband is a United States citizen, our children are United States citizens and we are appalled that the notion of complacency right down to sympathy could be entertained.
We feel that justice has failed us and so do so very many families in Northern Ireland that have suffered at the hands of the IRA and are still suffering till this day.
Mr President, we know that you do not encourage terrorism, nor do you entertain the notion that terrorist will get away with oppression; however the Sinn Fein/IRA party is subjecting the citizens of NI and all victims of terrorism to the same.
Heidi Hazell family, Schnaars family, Melanie Anan, Joseph Anan