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CRIME

Elderly Nazi killer begins life prison term

As a last drive to arrest elderly Nazi war-criminals heats up, a 90-year-old former SS assassin began his life jail sentence Thursday handed down by a German court for shooting dead three civilians in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands.

Elderly Nazi killer begins life prison term
Photo: DPA

Heinrich Boere, who confessed to the killings as part of an SS hit squad in 1944, was brought to a prison hospital, the public prosecutor’s office in the city of Aachen said, 21 months after being sentenced.

An expert had declared Boere – who suffers from heart problems and is wheelchair-bound – fit enough to begin his term provided certain medical care was provided, a spokesman said.

He had been staying at a nursing home until space became available at the prison hospital in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

On several occasions, Boere admitted to shooting in cold blood pharmacist Fritz Bicknese, bicycle shop owner Teunis de Groot and Frans-Willem Kusters.

But he argued that as a member of an SS commando unit tasked with killing suspected resistance members or supporters, he risked being sent to a concentration camp if he refused.

He spent six decades one step ahead of the law after escaping from a prisoner-of war camp in 1947 and returning to his birthplace in Germany.

Boere, whose father was Dutch and who grew up in the Netherlands, was sentenced to death in Amsterdam – in absentia – in 1949. The sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment.

Afterwards, he remained a free man – working as a coal miner in Germany until 1976 – as Germany refused to extradite him in the 1980s, saying it was unable to determine if he was German or stateless.

Germany as a rule does not extradite its citizens to stand trial in other countries.

The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center launched a new drive in Germany Wednesday to catch the last perpetrators of the Holocaust still at large based on a groundbreaking precedent set by the May conviction of former camp guard John Demjanjuk, 91.

AFP/mdm

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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