Closing arguments start in marathon German far-right trial

AP News
Posted: Jul 25, 2017 7:40 AM
Closing arguments start in marathon German far-right trial

BERLIN (AP) — Prosecutors started closing arguments in Germany's biggest neo-Nazi murder trial on Tuesday after more than four years of evidence.

The main defendant, Beate Zschaepe, has been on trial since May 2013 for alleged involvement in 10 murders as a member of a group calling itself the National Socialist Underground. The NSU's two other core members died in an apparent murder-suicide in 2011.

The group allegedly killed eight Turkish men, a Greek and a German policewoman between 2000 and 2007.

Prosecutor Herbert Diemer told the Munich state court that the trial had confirmed the charges against Zschaepe and four co-defendants, news agency dpa reported. He described Zschaepe as a co-founder and member of a terrorist organization.

The aim was a "foreigner-free" country and "the motive for all these crimes was far-right ideology," Diemer said.

The court has heard 815 witnesses and 42 experts. The high-profile trial has exposed numerous failings in authorities' investigation into the killings.

In 2015, Zschaepe testified in a statement read by a lawyer that the killings, along with two bomb attacks and several bank robberies, were carried out by her former lovers, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Boehnhardt, who died in 2011. She has rejected the charge that she was part of the NSU.

Zschaepe could face a life prison sentence if convicted of involvement in murder.

Prosecutors' arguments alone are expected to take several court sessions, with co-plaintiffs and defense lawyers making their case in September.