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NSU trial resumes following summer break

The trial of five suspects accused of assisting a neo-Nazi group believed to have killed 10 people over a period of several years has resumed. Nine of the victims were immigrant small business owners.

The Munich court hearing the case took up its work for a 33rd day of testimony on Thursday after its summer break of almost a month.

Thursday's hearing was to hear evidence from one of the five defendants, Holger G. (pictured above), about how he had helped obtain documents for the two men who are alleged to have carried out the killings, Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Mundlos.

Prosecutors believe the two men carried out the murders of eight Turks and one Greek small business owners, as well as a German policewoman between 2000 and 2007.

The two shooters committed suicide in November 2011, after they attracted police attention by robbing a bank in the eastern German city of Eisenach.

Holger G. admitted in a statement he read out at a hearing back in June that he had provided the two men with a passport and a driver's license. He. also said that he provided the two gunmen with a pistol, after being asked to do so by his co-accused, Ralf Wohlleben. Apart from that statement, he has remained silent throughout the trial and on Thursday, his defense lawyer said he would give no further evidence.

The main suspect, Beate Zschäpe, 38, is accused of being a member of the terrorist National Socialist Underground (NSU) and seeking to throw police off the trail of Böhnhardt and Mundlos by burning down a house in the eastern city of Zwickau, after their deaths. However, she is not accused of direct involvement in the killings. She has refused to speak so far during the proceedings.

The alleged link between the 10 killings and the NSU was not discovered by police until Böhnhardt and Mundlos were found dead in late 2011.

Parallel to the trial, a Bundestag parliamentary committee held an inquiry into why police failed to make the link earlier, believing instead that the murders were the products of disputes within Germany's Turkish community.

The committee's final report, adopted by the German parliament on Monday, described this failure as a "shameful defeat" for the police and intelligence services.

Bundestag President Norbert Lammert also formally apologized to the victims' families.

pfd/kms (AFP,dpa)

Deutsche Welle is bound by German law and the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and obliges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases. In the case of Beate Zschäpe, an exception was made because a warrant for her arrest had been issued in 2011, and at the time the German press determined it was in the public interest to reveal her full name. Ralf Wohlleben is considered a public figure due to his former role in the National Democratic Party, and as such his full name can be revealed.