In the end, they make themselves very small. “I beg your leniency,” begs Maximilian V., a 29-year-old neo-Nazi with multiple criminal records, where investigators found an Adolf Hitler commemorative medal. He is going through a “difficult situation” in prison. Hardly any contact with family and friends monitored phone calls, the corona pandemic will make things worse. He works every day on his “business plan” in the “fitness industry”, and sometimes donated to a children’s hospice. “I ask for an opportunity in freedom,” V. appeals to the judges of the Dresden Higher Regional Court on Tuesday.
Even Tom W., a former comradeship leader, at home with a floor-to-ceiling swastika in the party room, asserts that he never wanted to kill or seriously injure people. And Christian K., an accused ringleader and also a criminal record, asks at least for the co-accused for “mercy”: They should receive suspended sentences so that they could be with “their loved ones” in the Corona period.
A good year and a half ago, the men sounded very different. The eight defendants wanted to instigate a “civil war”, a “system change” with “effective strikes” against “left-wing parasites”. Back in late summer 2018, when they stood on the street with thousands of other rights in Chemnitz after a 35-year-old was stabbed there by two refugees. It was a state of emergency. And the eight neo-Nazis wanted more.
In any case, the Dresden Higher Regional Court is convinced of this. In late Tuesday afternoon, the eight men were sentenced to prison terms of two and a quarter to five and a half years for legal terrorism. Yes, no attacks have yet taken place, explains judge Hans Schluter-Staats. But the “would-be revolutionaries” were ready to use violence – and “thank goodness” was stopped in time. “Even mentally confused people can be dangerous,” affirmed Schluter-Staats – and refers to the murder of the Kassel government president Walter Lubcke.
Goal: trump NSU
The federal prosecutor’s office had also accused the men of legal terrorism. In September 2018, Saxon police officers caught their eye, then Karlsruhe took over. After the march in Chemnitz, the accused in chats had continued to increase their hatred of “rabbits”, the “scum”: one had to “go one step further”.
Finally, they formed the “Revolution Chemnitz” chat group, pondered attacks on politicians and the left, on “Merkel zombies”, and wanted to look for weapons. Leader Christian K. wrote that he was ready to “pull it through to the end.” The NSU, on the other hand, would only “act like the kindergarten preschool group”.
It was supposed to start on October 3 – with an attack in Berlin that the group of leftists wanted to put on the shoes. There was already a “trial run” in Chemnitz: Some of the men attacked a group of Iranians on the local castle pond island, throwing a beer bottle at you. Then the men were arrested.
Half a year has now been brought before the Higher Regional Court. On Tuesday, the accused sit again in the high-security room, shielded on the outskirts. They follow the negotiation motionlessly, stare into the room. There are construction workers, securities, unemployed people, 22 to 32 years old, almost all of them have a criminal record and have relevant tattoos – and have been active in the extreme right-wing scene for years: as hooligans or with the 2007 “camaraderie” Sturm 34.
“What you did was ridiculous”
Their defense lawyers initially criticized Tuesday that negotiations are still taking place in times of the corona pandemic. This is “irresponsible”, one is exposed to “very specific health risks”. However, the court considered it sufficient to impose distance rules in the hall, three seats must remain free between listeners.
In their last plea, the lawyers reaffirmed the innocence of the accused, demanding acquittals or mild punishments. There was no terrorist group, just “stupid chatting” in chats, over a few days, without concrete plans, the tenor said. A lawyer calls the plans “obvious nonsense, wishful thinking, a mirage”. “That had nothing to do with reality at all.”
Defense lawyer André Schuster addresses the accused directly. “Don’t take it against me,” he says. “What you did was ridiculous. It couldn’t be worse. ”If you had actually started something in Berlin,“ it would have been bad for you ”. The NSU “would not even have accepted you into the embryonic entry-level”. The addressed rigid cobblers are puzzled.
When the latter sarcastically painted who wanted a revolution, should at least have got it right once or should have asked the Chemnitz hooligans, who are one of the best-organized groups, that victim lawyer Kristin Pietrzyk, who represents an injured Iranian, is enough. She leaves the room in protest. “I don’t have to listen to something like that,” she scolds later.
“There should be deaths”
The federal prosecutor’s office, on the other hand, had insisted on the guilt of the accused until the end, demanding that the men be imprisoned for up to five and a half years. Judge Schluter-Staats agrees with this in his two-hour verdict. The condemned were very serious, they specifically searched for firearms and behaved conspiratorially. “It was not a matter of imagination, but of ideas that were concretely intended to be implemented.” The ultimate goal: “There should be deaths.”
The judge explained that the convicts had long dreamed of a system crash. The elevators in Chemnitz at that time were the “welcome spark” for them. Schluter-Staats criticizes defenders who relativized the elevators. It is “absurd”.
Extremists were on the march in Chemnitz and the suspects had also moved in to “fight around” according to their own information. Schluter-Staats accused the convicted of “enjoying violence” and anti-constitutionalism. But, according to the judge: “Those who rave about Adolf Hitler have forfeited the right to use the word Germany even in their mouths.”
The condemned follow the statements consternated. For three, however, there is a joy for the time being: Their arrest warrants will be suspended under conditions because their remaining sentence is no longer so long, making it unlikely that they will escape.
“Revolution Chemnitz” thus joins the latest wave of right-wing terrorism in the country. Another group of right-wing extremists has just been arrested and is also said to have planned attacks on politicians and migrants: ” Group S “. Previously, a right-wing extremist murdered two people in an assassination attempt and tried to get into a synagogue, another man shot Walter Lübcke in Kassel. Again before that, two groups had been condemned as right-wing terrorists: the “Oldschool Society” and the “Freital Group”.
Christian K., the leader of “Revolution Chemnitz”, had included a conviction early on. In a chat he had warned his fellow campaigners about the consequences of his plans: “You can imagine that we are talking about more than a short-term vacation here if something is disclosed.”