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Germany

Murder trial for former Nazi SS guard abandoned

The murder trial of an aging former Nazi SS guard was abandoned on Monday after the court in the western German city of Hagen ruled he was unfit to stand trial. Prosecutors have accused 88-year-old Herbetus Bikker of murdering a Dutch resistance fighter in 1944 while guarding a prison camp in the Netherlands. The trial, which began last September, was ended after a neurological test found Bikker was not well enough to follow proceedings. Born in the Netherlands, Bikker was granted German citizenship during World War Two due to his membership in the Nazi SS. After the war he was convicted of war crimes in the Netherlands and sentenced to life imprisonment, but he escaped from prison and fled to Germany. Despite attempts by Dutch authorities to have him returned to the Netherlands, he was protected by a West German law at the time that prevented citizens from being extradited against their will. The Netherlands is still seeking the arrest of six other convicted war criminals living freely in Germany.