Berlin Wall Guards Found Guilty of Manslaughter | Germany | News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 12.02.2004

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Berlin Wall Guards Found Guilty of Manslaughter

The last case involving the deaths of East Germans who were killed as they attempted to escape over the Berlin Wall has come to a close. On Thursday, a Berlin court found a former East German guard guilty of manslaughter and sentenced him to 21 months on probation. His former deputy was found guilty of aiding in the crimes and sentenced to 12 months on probation. The two retired former guards -- now 69 and 70 years of age -- have been fighting the charges, claiming that they were simply adhering to the policies of the former East German government at a time when "a dead refugee is better than an escaped one" was the motto. The case involved the deaths of four men between the ages of 18 and 47 who were shot as they attempted to escape. In a series of cases, numerous former sharpshooters who guarded the Berlin Wall have been found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to probation.