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CRIME

Murder charges levelled at neo-Nazi suspect

Prosecutors have added murder charges to a list of allegations against National Socialist Underground member Beate Zschäpe. She has now been formally implicated in ten murders allegedly carried out by the neo-Nazi terrorist group.

Murder charges levelled at neo-Nazi suspect
Photo: DPA

German state prosecutors have requested that Zschäpe be charged with involvement in the killings, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported on Saturday. She has also been implicated in 14 robberies and attempted murder in connection with arson.

Zschäpe already stood accused of being a founding member of the far-right terrorist organization, the National Socialist Underground (NSU). But her involvement in the group’s alleged murder of nine immigrant shop owners and a policewoman has long been a source of speculation.

Now it appears that prosecutors at the Federal Prosecutors Office believe she played a more instrumental role as an accomplice to fellow NSU founding members Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt than previously thought.

The Zwickau-based group was uncovered late last year when Mundlos and Böhnhardt were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide pact after a botched bank robbery.

Zschäpe is accused of setting fire to the trio’s Zwickau home, while an 89-year-old neighbor may have been next door. She handed herself in several days later.

It’s been requested that the 37-year-old’s detention time be extended to allow for further investigation.

Zschäpe is yet to comment on the latest charges, but is said to have enlarged her defence team. She has already been in custody for nine months while prosecutors probe the case.

Several other suspected NSU associates have been arrested since the group came to the attention of police in November.

The Local/ccp

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GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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