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Terrorism charges for anti-refugee German group

November 8, 2016

Federal prosecutors have charged eight people with founding a right-wing terrorist organization in eastern Germany. The group is believed to be behind a series of attacks that targeted asylum-seekers last year.

Deutschland Stadt Freital Ortsschild
Image: Getty Images/M. Rietschel

Authorities arrested seven men and one woman who are suspected of founding a far-right terrorist organization in the eastern German town of Freital, German media reported on Monday.

The members of the so-called "Gruppe Freital" targeted asylum-seeker homes in Freital, going so far as to explode fireworks on the window panes of a refugee house in early November last year.

Taking a stand against xenophobia and intolerance

Although no one was killed in the attacks, prosecutors charged the group's members with attempted murder, according to the German newspaper "Süddeutsche Zeitung" and public broadcasters NDR and MDR, citing the 160 page indictment.

The group also targeted political opponents, carrying out an explosives attack on the car of a Left party politician who supported a plan to house refugees in Freital. They also allegedly planted explosives at the Left party's Freital office.

In April, the federal prosecutor's office in Karlsruhe took over the case after critics said the prosecutor's office in Dresden was not taking the case seriously enough.

The recent arrest warrant from the Federal Court of Justice - Germany's highest criminal court - said "Gruppe Freital" spread fear and terror, damaging national security, reported "Süddeutsche Zeitung."

The group has been active since July 2015, the year that nearly 900,000 refugees came to Germany, fleeing poverty and war in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere.

Freital, just 10 kilometers (6 miles) southwest of Dresden, made headlines last year for a series of arson attacks and protests against asylum seekers. The charges have also come amidst a rise in right-wing violence in Germany.

rs/jm (AFP, dpa, epd)