‘Neo-Nazis’ on trial in Germany

By Anna Sheinman, August 24, 2012

Twenty-six alleged neo-Nazis are standing trial in Koblenz state in Germany. They are accused of attacks on left-wing activists, dating as far back as 2009.

Alleged offences include setting fire to cars, scrawling neo-Nazi graffiti on walls and putting stickers saying “Rudolph Hess Street” over road signs, the Associated Press reported.

The men, who range from 19 to 54 years old, are accused of arson, robbery and membership of a criminal organisation and could spend up to 15 years in prison.

The trial, which opened in the Rhineland-Palatinate state court in Koblenz on Tuesday, is part of a Germany-wide crackdown on neo-Nazi activity.

Separately, on Thursday, a mass raid of suspected neo-Nazi homes and meeting places was carried out by over 900 police officers in the neighbouring state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The raids were part of an evidence-gathering exercise after three far-right parties were banned in the region.

Police searched 146 properties across 32 cities and towns, and material confiscated included weapons and computers.

Election propaganda of the far-right National Democratic Party (NDP) was also found. The discovery could lead to the banning of the NDP.

Last updated: 1:55pm, August 24 2012