Trial starts for Germans accused of refugee attacks

2017-03-07 21:21
One of the accused on trial in Dresden, Germany, for allegedly forming a far-right terrorist organisation enters the court. (Sebastian Kahnert, dpa via AP)

One of the accused on trial in Dresden, Germany, for allegedly forming a far-right terrorist organisation enters the court. (Sebastian Kahnert, dpa via AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Dresden - Eight members of a German far-right group went on trial on Tuesday over terrorism charges, accused of a series of attacks against refugees and political opponents.

The so-called "Freital group" - named after the members' hometown outside Dresden, the capital of the eastern state of Saxony - consists of seven men, aged 19 to 39 and a 28-year-old woman.

Prosecutors say they staged five attacks with explosives between July and November 2015 targeting refugee housing and leftwing groups, causing two injuries.

Charges against them include forming a terrorist group, attempted murder and grievous bodily harm.

Tight security

"They wanted to create a climate of fear and repression," federal prosecutor Joern Hauschild told the court.

"In at least one case, they accepted that people could die," he said.

Expecting a long trial, authorities spent €5m.3m fitting out a specially constructed courtroom, including on-site prison cells, in a structure on the outskirts of the city originally built to house refugees.

With anti-migrant sentiment high across the former communist East, the hearings were being held under tight security.

Dresden in particular has been a focal point for xenophobic groups as the home of the anti-Islam street movement Pegida.

And the neighbouring town of Freital was already making headlines in the summer of 2015, as images of rage-fuelled demonstrations against "criminal foreigners" and "asylum-seeking pigs" were beamed around the country.

It was the peak of the refugee crisis, with Chancellor Angela Merkel's September 4 decision to open Germany's borders to refugees and migrants travelling via Hungary and Austria.

Prosecutors say the defendants went to the Czech Republic and secured "a large quantity of explosives", planning to use them against refugee housing and the "homes, offices and vehicles" of local left-wingers.

Assistance organisation

The charge sheet includes an attack on a car belonging to the leader of far-left party Die Linke in Freital on the night of July 27 2015, in which no one was hurt.

After the charges were read out, the lawyer representing Maria Kleinert, the only female defendant, said his client "blamed herself" and "would, if she could, undo the acts".

There were about 3 500 attacks against refugees and asylum seekers in Germany in 2016 - 10 each day, on average - injuring 560 people including 43 children, interior ministry data show.

Saxony, with just 5% of the German population, was the scene of 437 attacks last year, according to the RAA, a victims' assistance organisation, after 477 in 2015.

Read more on:    germany  |  terrorism  |  refugees

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Men.24 Model of the Week: Wendy from Cape Town

Find out more about our featured model, Wendy from Cape Town


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content these holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.