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Man on trial over two fully equipped tanks bought for Berlin fashion show

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Man on trial over two fully equipped tanks bought for Berlin fashion show
An Armoured Recovery Vehicle. Photo: DPA
13:04 CET+01:00
On Wednesday the trial began in Hesse of a man who imported two tanks to Germany without first disarming them. The vehicles were later bought by a celebrity fashion designer.

The 49-year-defendant bought the tanks in the UK in 2013 and brought them to Germany without first disarming them, prosecutors allege.

The tanks were specifically Armoured Recovery Vehicles, which were not equipped with guns, but nonetheless were completely armoured.

“The upper and lower plating and the sides were completely covered. This was the originally armour,” lead prosecutor Susanne Spandau said.

Spandau claimed that the tank could have been used in a military operation and that its possession was therefore an contravention of the law on combat weapons.

Not on trial however is Harald Glööckler, a celebrity Berlin designer who bought the tanks to use as an artistic protest against war at one of his shows.

Glööckler will appear at the trial as a witness after prosecutors were convinced that he had no idea that the vehicles were armed.

But the defence have rejected the accusation that the vehicles contravened German law.

The vehicles “didn't have any guns, they just had caterpillars and a shovel,” said defence lawyer Peter Gillert, arguing that they were no different from a digger.

“My client had no idea that these were weapons of war,” he said.

But the prosecution claims that photos from the man's business website prove that he had an expert knowledge of military vehicles.

“Your homepage doesn't look as innocent as how you present it here,” said Spandau.

The defendant, who has a business trading farm equipment, originally brought the tanks to his property in Lautertal before selling them on to a buyer south of Berlin.

Glööckler then came upon the vehicles after he agreed to the joke suggestion of an associate that he buy a tank.

“I never though that Glööckler would say ‘yes, buy one'” the man told the court.

In the end the tanks never made it into Glööckner's show.

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