Germany charges 12 in far-right ‘terror’ plot

Eleven of the men, arrested in countrywide raids in February, stand accused of membership of a ‘terrorist organisation’.

German authorities have been paying more attention to the country's underground extreme right scene since the murder of conservative local politician Walter Luebcke in June 2019 and an attack on a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle in October 2019 [File: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters]
German authorities have been paying more attention to the country's underground extreme right scene since the murder of conservative local politician Walter Luebcke in June 2019 and an attack on a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle in October 2019 [File: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters]

German federal prosecutors have charged 12 alleged far-right conspirators suspected of planning “terrorist attacks” on politicians, asylum seekers and Muslims, security service sources told AFP news agency on Thursday.

Eleven of the men, arrested in countrywide raids in February, stand accused of the membership of a “terrorist organisation” and weapons law violations. The 12th alleged conspirator has been charged with supporting a “terrorist group”.

The federal prosecutor’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.

The arrests followed raids, some by heavily armed special units, which hit 13 locations in six German states.

The four prime suspects planned to spark “a civil-war-like situation … via as yet undefined attacks on politicians, asylum seekers and people of Muslim faith”, federal prosecutors said in February.

According to media reports earlier this year, the group planned to use semiautomatic weapons to mirror attacks in Christchurch in March 2019 in New Zealand in which 51 people were killed at two mosques.

The suspects are believed to have founded a “right-wing terrorist organisation” with the goal of “destabilising and ultimately overthrowing” Germany’s democratic order.

Eight other suspects had allegedly agreed to “financially support the group, provide it with weapons or take part in future attacks”.

To plan their attacks, the group allegedly held regular meetings which were coordinated and organised by two of the main suspects, named only as Werner S and Tony E.

The suspects, all of whom are German citizens, also communicated using messenger apps.

Growing far-right threat

German authorities are paying more attention to the country’s underground extreme right scene since the murder of conservative local politician Walter Luebcke in June 2019 and an attack on a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle in October 2019.

Media reports said police discovered several weapons in the February raids, including one self-made “slam gun” similar to the one used in the Halle attack.

Late last year Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced 600 new posts across the federal police and domestic security services to track far-right threats, citing a growing danger.

Government figures show that in the first half of 2019, there were nearly 9,000 attacks by far-right groups and individuals – an increase of nearly 1,000 compared with the same period the year before.

Research from a counselling centre for victims of hate crimes showed that, in 2018, at least three right-wing, racist and anti-Semitic attacks occurred daily in five East German federal states – Brandenburg, Thuringia and Saxony.

Source : News Agencies

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