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Germany: Soldier who planned far-right attack to stand trial

November 19, 2019

Franco A. posed as a Syrian refugee, allegedly to orchestrate a terror attack he hoped would be mistaken for Islamist extremism. He faces up to ten years in prison if convicted.

A German army uniform
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/K.-J.Hildenbrand

Disgraced German army officer Franco A. is due to face trial on charges of preparing a far-right terror attack, a federal court spokesman said on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old spent months in jail in 2017 but a lower state court in Frankfurt dropped the case against him. However, federal prosecutors continued to pursue the case and now the higher court has agreed to hear it.

What are the charges?

Franco A. was first arrested in April 2017 and was detained for six months while investigators probed his alleged plan target center-left politicians like Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and prominent Green party politician Claudia Roth, as well as human rights activist Anetta Kahane.

To that end, he impersonated a Syrian refugeeand had himself registered as such with the authorities, reportedly in the hope that his attack would be mistaken for Islamist extremism.

Police reportedly found a G3 semi-automatic rifle, pistols, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition and 50 explosive devices procured by the suspect. He is also being charged with stealing military weapons.

Read moreGerman military investigates elite unit over far-right ties

German police arrests soldier in far-right probe

What could the outcome be?

Franco A. faces up to ten years in prison if convicted. He remains a soldier in the Bundeswehr but is not allowed to wear his uniform.

A friend of the defendant has already been found guilty of storing illegal weapons on the soldier's behalf and was sentenced to a year in prison. He has appealed the decision, stating that he believes he did nothing wrong.

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es/rt (dpa, EPD)

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