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Germany

East German Border Killings Retrial Begins

A retrial for two members of the East German leadership charged with murdering three people at the former border of East and West Germany in the final years of the communist state began in Berlin on Friday. Hans-Joachim Böhme, 74, and Siegfried Lorenz, 73, were cleared by a Berlin court in July 2000, but a higher court in Leipzig overturned that ruling in November 2002 and ordered a retrial. The Leipzig court said the two were jointly responsible for the deaths of people trying to cross the border because they had not attempted to make the orders given to former East German border guards more "humane." The new trial is the last of former communist officials over the so-called border shootings. A verdict is expected on August 6.

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