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Germany

Ex-East German Officials Convicted for Wall Shootings

Two former East German communist officials have been given 15-month suspended sentences for their part in shooting deaths along the Berlin Wall. In what is likely to be the last case of its kind, a court in Berlin found the men guilty on three counts of accessory to murder. Hans-Joachim Böhme, 74, and 73-year-old Siegfried Lorenz were members of the East German Politburo. The court said they had failed to use their influence to end the Communist regime's shoot-to-kill policy for people who illegally tried to cross the border. Judges found them partly responsible for the deaths of three men shot dead by border guards at the Berlin Wall in the late 1980s. The men had been cleared of the same charges in the year 2000 but a higher court overturned the not-guilty verdict and ordered a retrial.