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Suspected neo-Nazi gang ring leader indicted in Germany

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 15:57

Berlin: Suspected ring leader of a neo-Nazi gang, Beate Zschaepe, has been indicted at a court in Munich for her alleged involvement in 10 racially-motivated murders committed across Germany over a period of six years.

As the regional court in Munich yesterday resumed Germany`s biggest neo-Nazi trial after an eight-day adjournment, federal prosecutor Herbert Diemer read out the indictment against Zschaepe and four others.

He accused her of complicity in the murder of eight Turkish entrepreneurs, one Greek migrant and a woman police officer in "execution-style shootings" between 2000 and 2007.

Zschaepe, 38, is believed to be the only surviving member of the neo-Nazi cell National Socialist Underground (NSU), which she founded in eastern Germany together with her accomplices Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Boenhardt.
Police found the bodies of Mundlos and Boenhardt in their caravan in November, 2011.

There have been speculations that they may have committed suicide after a failed bank robbery.

The existence of the NSU and the activities of the trio came to light after the death of the two men and Zschaepe`s subsequent surrender to the police.

Diemer said investigators have gained the impression that the NSU was a "three-member commando", which had a clear division of responsibilities.

Even though Zschaepe may not have been directly involved in the attacks, she played a central role in procuring money and weapons for the group as well as in planning the attacks, which were executed by her two accomplices, he said.

The right extremist group was driven by "racist and anti- state dogma" and its aim was to commit murder and criminal acts dangerous to public safety in order to intimidate the public and cause major damage to the state, Diemer said.

They targeted Turkish migrants for their attacks, selected them arbitrarily and killed them through "execution-style shootings", according to the indictment.
All nine migrants victims were completely unaware of the threat they faced and they were defenceless.

In each case, the victims were taken by surprise in an everyday situation and were shot in the head from a close distance, Diemer said.
The NSU is also charged with responsibility for a bomb attack in 2004 in an area of Cologne, where many Turkish migrants live. At least 23 people were injured in the blast.

Zschaepe showed no reaction as the prosecutor read out the 35-page indictment. Along with her, former leader of the right extremist party NPD Ralf Wohlieben as well as Carsten S were also charged with complicity in the NSU murders. Andre E and Holger G are charged with supporting a terrorist group.

The string of murders had shocked the nation after it emerged that a series of mistakes made by law enforcement authorities and intelligence services helped the neo-Nazi cell to carry out their atrocities without being detected.

First Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 15:54
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