The father of a deceased member of a neo-Nazi murder gang has alleged at a Munich trial that state intelligence use of paid informers encouraged his son to take part in the group.
Retired information science Professor Siegfried Mundlos (pictured above) claimed that money paid by intelligence services for information on the far-right had created an "illusion" that would not have arisen "if the young people had had to make do with their own money."
Lawyers representing the relatives of nine murder victims of Turkish and Greek origin - all shopkeepers - had previously voiced shock at the trial when relatives of the Neo-Nazi accused tried to mitigate the actions of the National Social Underground (NSU).
The 67-year-old professor said his son, Uwe Mundlos, had been naïve and "uncritical" through to 2011, when he - together with another cell member, Uwe Böhnhardt - apparently committed suicide after botching the latest in a series of bank robberies.
The elderly father had made a similar claim previously during a parliamentary inquiry in the eastern German state of Thuringia, where the NSU was once based.
69 days of proceedings
Wednesday's testimony came on the 69th day of proceedings in the Higher Regional Munich Court. On trial is an alleged accomplice of the two deceased, Beate Zschäpe, as well as four other men accused of being accessories of the NSU.
Presiding judge Manfred Götzl intervened during the testimony on Wednesday, when the professor reached for an apple on the table in front of him and began eating it - contrary to court rules.
"If you are hungry, I'll interrupt, and we'll take a pause for 10 minutes," Götzl said.
The professor was the third parent of an NSU accused to testify during the trial, which is expected to extend far into 2014.
Far-right long ignored?
The killings across Germany ended in 2007 with the murder of a policewoman. Only in late 2011 did authorities announce that they had pieced together the neo-Nazi link. The ensuing scandal resulted in a highly critical federal parliamentary inquiry and the Munich trial.
In recent weeks, police reopened inquiries into 746 unsolved cases of violent crime since 1990 to re-check whether far-right hate played a role. Until recently, police attributed 63 murders to right-wing extremists.
The results of that inquiry are due in 2014.
ipj/ph (dpa, AFP)