search

Germany’s top court upholds life sentence in neo-Nazi murders case

Federal Court of Justice rejects appeals filed by Beate Zschaepe over her conviction for her role in the killings of 10 people between 2000 and 2007

In this February 7, 2017 photo, terror suspect Beate Zschaepe sits in the court room waiting for her lawyers in Munich, Germany. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
In this February 7, 2017 photo, terror suspect Beate Zschaepe sits in the court room waiting for her lawyers in Munich, Germany. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

BERLIN — Germany’s top court has rejected appeals by three defendants over their convictions in one of the country’s most high-profile far-right murder trials.

The decision announced Thursday by the Federal Court of Justice confirms the life sentence given three years ago to Beate Zschaepe, the only known survivor of the National Socialist Underground group.

A Munich regional court had found her guilty in 2018 of 10 counts of murder for her role in the killing of nine men — eight of Turkish origin and one of Greek — and a policewoman between 2000 and 2007. She was also found guilty of membership in a terrorist organization, participating in two bomb attacks and more than a dozen bank robberies, and of attempted murder when she set fire to the group’s hideout after its existence came to light.

Although Zschaepe denied having been present for any of the killings, the court concluded that she had been involved in planning each one. Her two accomplices, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Boehnhardt, were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide in 2011 following a botched robbery.

The federal court this week also confirmed the convictions of two men who had helped the group: Ralf Wohlleben, who was found guilty of accessory to murder for helping supply the trio with a handgun and silencer he knew they planned to use for the killings; and Holger Gerlach, who was convicted of supporting a terrorist organization for providing the NSU group with a firearm and forged identity papers while they were on the run.

Anti-racism campaigners have accused German authorities of numerous failings during their investigation of the killings and called for greater transparency about the involvement of police informants with the group.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed