BFF-57 Verdicts next week in German neo-Nazi murder trial

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Verdicts next week in German neo-Nazi murder trial

BERLIN, July 3, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Beate Zschaepe, the only surviving member
of a murderous German neo-Nazi trio, proclaimed her innocence over a racist
killing spree in a final plea Tuesday before her verdict next week.

Turning to the presiding judge in the mammoth five-year trial in Munich,
she said: “Please don’t judge me for something that I neither wanted nor
did.”

Zschaepe, 43, stands accused of complicity in 10 deadly shootings carried
out by the other two members of the National Socialist Underground (NSU), a
far-right terror cell.

The two gunmen — Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Boehnhardt, both Zschaepe’s former
lovers — targeted mostly Turkish immigrants in a string of attacks between
2000 and 2007. Both died in 2011 in an apparent murder-suicide.

Prosecutors have accused Zschaepe of being an active NSU member who helped
the two men by covering their tracks, handling finances and providing a safe
haven in their shared home.

The Munich court will on July 11 hand down its verdict and sentence in the
trial of Zschaepe and four alleged NSU supporters.

The NSU case deeply shocked Germany, where security services had associated
terrorism with Islamist and far-left militants, believing rightwing
extremists were mainly involved in random street violence and arson.

It was only after the murder-suicide of 2011 that Germany realised that the
killings — long blamed on migrant crime gangs — were in fact committed by
organised fascists.

– A long silence –

Also in the dock are four men accused of supplying weapons, identity
papers, cash and other material support to the NSU.

Zschaepe, who faces a maximum term of life in jail, has claimed she was an
unwilling bystander horrified by such crimes, and not the strong-willed,
active participant described by prosecutors.

She has admitted only lesser crimes like helping to plot bank robberies and
setting fire to their shared home after the two men died.

Zschaepe, who lived in hiding with the pair during the attacks, on Tuesday
insisted she did not know why they picked their victims, who also included a
Greek-born man and a German police woman.

In her address to the court, she apologised to the victims and denied that
her long silence had shown indifference to their suffering.

“The fact that I have not shown the desired response to you all here in the
courtroom does not mean that I am not shaken and horrified,” she said.

Zschaepe, who grew up in the extremist skinhead subculture of her post-
reunification east German home town of Jena, also reiterated her claim to
have distanced herself from the rightwing scene, saying its ideology has “no
meaning for me anymore”.

BSS/AFP/MRI/2210 hrs