Far-Right Coup Plot Trial Opens in Germany

Jun 18, 2024 - 13:08
Far-Right Coup Plot Trial Opens in Germany

BERLIN (AP) — Eight individuals accused of involvement in a suspected far-right conspiracy to overthrow the German government faced trial in Munich on Tuesday, marking the final installment of a sprawling case that has gripped the nation since late 2022.The defendants, comprising six men and two women, are charged with "preparation of high treasonous undertaking," along with accusations of belonging to or founding a terrorist organization. Some defendants also face charges related to planning a serious act of violence.

The case, which has already seen trials in Frankfurt and Stuttgart, centers on a group of individuals who allegedly subscribed to conspiracy theories including Reich Citizens and QAnon ideologies. The movement of Reich Citizens rejects Germany's postwar constitution and advocates for governmental overthrow, while QAnon is a global conspiracy theory originating in the United States.

Prosecutors assert that the group intended to storm the parliament building in Berlin and detain lawmakers, with plans to negotiate a new governmental order, primarily involving Russia, as a World War II ally.

The defendants allegedly possessed approximately 500,000 euros ($535,000) in funding and had access to a cache of weapons. Federal prosecutors also claim the group compiled lists of targeted individuals for takeover of local and regional authorities.

The trials occur against a backdrop of heightened concerns regarding the far-right in Germany. In its latest annual report, the domestic intelligence agency highlighted a rise in potentially violent right-wing extremists, numbering 14,500 in 2023 compared to 14,000 in 2022. Additionally, far-right offenses, including propaganda and violent acts, increased significantly.Thomas Haldenwang, head of the intelligence agency, noted a surge in extreme right-wing demonstrations focused on asylum and migration issues.