Former East German Leader Released from Jail | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 18.12.2003
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Former East German Leader Released from Jail

East Germany’s last leader was released from prison Thursday evening. Egon Krenz, who served as the German Democratic Republic’s (GDR) last head of state for less than two months in 1989, had been sentenced to six and a half years in prison in 1997 for his involvement in fatal shootings of East Germans trying to cross the Berlin Wall or the border between West and East Germany. Krenz had criticized his trial as "victor’s justice" and "Cold War in the courtroom.“ He began serving his sentence in 2000 and spent almost four years behind bars. He was allowed to leave the prison during the day to go to work. In January, Krenz met Hollywood actor Tom Hanks to help the latter prepare for a movie about U.S. singer Dean Reed, a friend of Krenz’s. Reed emigrated to the GDR in 1972 and died there 14 years later under mysterious circumstances. Last June, Krenz had tried to be released early, but a court had turned down the request.