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Germany: 'Reichsbürger' plot trial date set

April 2, 2024

Legal proceedings against a network of so-called "Reichsbürger" will begin in Frankfurt on May 21. The extreme-right conspiracists are accused of planning a coup d'état to overthrow the Federal German government.

A handfull of far-right "Reichsbürger" by the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin
"The system is at an end - we are the change!" Far-right "Reichsbürger" don't recognize the modern German stateImage: Paul Zinken/dpa-Zentralbild/picture alliance

The trial of a network of so-called "Reichsbürger" accused of plotting a far-right coup d'état in Germany is set to begin on May 21 in the western German city of Frankfurt.

The network allegedly led by Heinrich XIII Prince Reuss, an antisemitic German businessman and descendant of a formerly aristocratic family, stands accused of conspiracy to violently overthrow the Federal German government in a plot uncovered by police in December 2022.

Following the coup, Reuss was allegedly earmarked for the role of provisional head of a German state claiming the 1937 borders of the former German Empire (1871-1945).

The "Reichsbürger" ("citizens of the Reich") movement doesn't recognize the post-Second World War Federal Republic of Germany, its laws or its institutions.

Among the nine people initially being charged by German state prosecutors with membership of a terrorist organization are Reuss' co-conspirators Rüdiger von P., a former German army officer, and judge Birgit Malsack-Winkemann, a former member of parliament for the far-right AfD party.

The trial of the suspected ringleaders in Frankfurt is scheduled to continue until mid-January 2025 at the earliest.

Two further trials are set to take place in the southern cities of Stuttgart, for members of the movement's so-called military arm, and Munich for the remaining suspected members.

According to the state prosecutor, the network had "access to a huge arsenal of weapons" including around 380 firearms, 350 slashing devices, 500 further weapons and 148,000 pieces of ammunition.

mf/rc (AFP, dpa)

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