German far-right group on trial for a ‘terror plot’

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The trial of the 11 suspected members of a far-right “terror” group begins in the German city of Stuttgart on Tuesday.

The far-right terror suspects, who are all aged between 32 and 61, had been arrested in February of last year.

Prosecutors have said that the 11 men, who are all Germans, were members of the Gruppe S (Group S), which had planned attacks on migrants, Muslims and politicians, with the goal of sparking a civil war.

A twelfth man, who is a former police officer, is accused of offering material support to the group. He is now also on trial.

This comes after a Metropolitan Police officer is currently facing jail after acting as a recruiter for an illegal neo-Nazi terrorist organisation. Police Constable Benjamin Hannam, from Edmonton in north London, is the first police officer to have been convicted for his involvement within the far-right terrorist group.

One of the members of the group is still at large and is being tried in absentia.

The men who are in Gruppe S had intended to “shake and ultimately topple the state and social order” in Germany, the indictment has said.

Werner S, who is the group’s alleged ringleader, organised an initial meeting back in September 2019, and over the next few months others joined and then kept in touch by phone and internet messenger services.

According to the investigation files seen by the German public broadcaster ZDF and the Stuttgarter Nachrichten newspaper, Werner S has planned to acquire a Kalashnikov assault rifle along with 2,000 rounds of ammunition, as well as an Uzi submachine gun and hand grenades. The group already had a total of 27 unlicensed weapons, most of which were pistols, it is alleged.

“If the accused had been able to carry out their planned acts of terror, we would have had a totally brutal and massive killing machine running here,” said Ralf Michelfelder, who is the chief criminal investigator for the state of Baden-Württemberg.

This comes after Prince Harry has reportedly arrived back in the UK and is in currently in quarantine ahead of the funeral of Prince Philip on Saturday. He is said to have arrived already at Heathrow airport on a British Airways flight from Los Angeles at 1.15pm on Sunday afternoon.

German media has reported that the authorities were alerted to the group’s activities back in autumn of 2019 by an informant, who is now the chief witness for the trial, under the close protection of the police. In February of 2020 police arrested 13 men from five different German states. One later then died in detention before the trial.

Most of the group’s members had also belonged to other far-right German groups, including the Bruderschaft Deutschland (German Brotherhood), the German broadcaster ARD has reported.

Thorsten W, who is accused of supporting the group, worked for the police in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and had allegedly offered €5,000 ($6,000; £4,300) to buy weapons for the attacks.

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