“Reichsbürger” trial: testy atmosphere, strict security rules

“Reichsbürger” trial: testy atmosphere, strict security rules

The first day of the major terror trial against the “Reuss Group” begins tensely: in the morning there are long queues in front of the court in Stuttgart-Stammheim, inside there are the strictest security precautions. The judges and the defendants seem the most relaxed.

Early in the morning, even before the first word in this historic terror trial has been spoken, the atmosphere in front of the courthouse in Stuttgart-Stammheim is tense. The queues are getting longer in front of the low-rise building of the Higher Regional Court. A revolving door doesn’t work. The safety precautions in modern new buildings also take time.

Jacket, watch, jewelry, belt, cell phone, please take everything off and lock it up. Handkerchiefs – not possible, one is allowed, says an official. Cough drops are also forbidden. “It’s like being at the airport,” says a cheerful judicial officer during the body search in the cabin, “except you don’t have to lie down on the beach afterwards.”

“Like at the airport”

A beach seems infinitely far away in Stammheim, but a piece of terror history in Germany, not so much. The Federal Republic of Germany put the RAF terrorists on trial nearby, and many were in prison right next door.

Hall 1 of the court has also been upgraded to a security zone. A glass front with nine windows separates the audience from the court, the prosecutors and defense lawyers. A second, side glass front court and audience of the nine defendants. The defendants are led into the courtroom more than an hour late. Suddenly it becomes quiet.

The nine of a total of 26 defendants in the alleged right-wing terrorist group around Henry XIII. Prince Reuss, who, according to the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, wanted to overthrow the federal government and use armed force to eliminate the state order in Germany, are men over 40, sometimes clearly. In Stuttgart there are actually only men.

German citizenship? – “Correct”

Markus Peter L., one of the youngest at 47, is the last to be led into the hall. He seems calm and lets his gaze wander around the hall. When the presiding judge asks whether he has German citizenship, he simply says: “Correct.”

According to observers, his case will be important for the entire process. He is charged with attempted murder, among other things. He fired a semi-automatic rifle at special operations police officers, seriously injuring one of them.

“Reichsbürger” trial: When the alleged conspirators enter the court, everything becomes quiet.  And then the prosecution shows the abyss

Markus L. is said to have holed up behind this swivel chair – and fired at police officers

02:25 minutes

When a representative of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, alternating with a colleague, read out the indictment shortly after half past eleven, the hectic pace of the beginning seemed to gradually evaporate. Most of the other defendants calmly listen to what they are accused of.

The indictment provides insights into a self-proclaimed fighting force that was associated with a “deep rejection of state institutions and the free, democratic basic order.” Among other things, they used a conspiracy myth according to which German politicians allegedly abused children in satanic rituals. So they despised them.

According to investigators, the group also planned subsequent “purges” for the period after the coup, allegedly even murdering civil servants and other undesirable people. The equipment for “Day X”, the time of the coup, included not only several hundred firearms, more than 140,000 rounds of ammunition and other equipment such as balaclavas and plastic handcuffs.

Markus L., a shooter and, according to investigators, a weapons hobbyist, owned rifles, knives and striking tools as well as protective vests and gas masks. According to the prosecutor, he had “access to at least one weapon at all times” in every room of his apartment.

No contradiction, no self-doubt

The prosecution tells of a group that is said to have been driven. Of a mixture of hate and hubris that was not shaken by any contradiction or self-doubt. The 3rd Criminal Senate wants to clarify how dangerous the group actually was in the next few months. So far he has scheduled 49 days of negotiations, dates until the beginning of next year. However, due to the huge number of defendants and the fact that their trial was split between three courts, experts expect the trial to last at least three to four years.

The other two trials will begin in the coming weeks in Munich and Frankfurt, where the group’s alleged strategists, including Reuss, will be tried.

On the first day of the trial, the mood in the courtroom remains businesslike. that the highly complex negotiations take place in three different locations instead of in one place. This is unfair and violates “equality of arms”. Unlike the public prosecutor’s office, defense attorneys would not be able to afford the effort in terms of personnel and would not be able to properly support the parallel processes. “The structure of the association can only be clarified through a joint main hearing,” said the defense attorney for one of the defendants. The public prosecutor’s office naturally sees things differently.

The court postponed the decision on the defense lawyers’ requests in order not to delay the proceedings.

At least two of the defendants announced that they would testify about the person and the matter, i.e. the coup allegations. Most people want to remain silent for now. Also Markus L., who is said to have shot at the police officers. All defendants are presumed innocent until they are convicted.

Source: Stern

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