April 24, 2018 / 1:55 PM / a month ago

Lawyer tells German court neo-Nazi suspect is not murder accomplice

MUNICH (Reuters) - A lawyer for a member of a neo-Nazi gang accused of murdering 10 people more than a decade ago urged judges on Tuesday to dismiss accusations by German prosecutors that she was an accomplice in the crimes.

Beate Zschaepe (L) arrives for her trial at a courtroom in Munich, Germany January 31, 2018. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

Prosecutors last year asked the court in Munich to convict Beate Zschaepe and sentence her to life imprisonment for the murders by the National Socialist Underground (NSU) group, which killed eight Turks, a Greek and a German policewoman.

But defense lawyer Hermann Borchert told the Higher Regional Court in the city that Zschaepe should not be considered an accomplice in the murders over seven years starting in 2000.

He told the court that “neither her character, nor her political activities” provided evidence to conclude that she was a co-founder, member and accomplice of a terrorist organization.

Zschaepe, 43, has denied taking part in the murders with two friends who killed themselves in 2011 when police discovered the gang by chance. But she has said through her lawyer she felt morally guilty for not stopping them.

The court is hearing the defense’s closing statements in the case after more than four years of evidence.

The group carried out two bombings and 15 bank robberies, the most violent attacks by a guerrilla group in Germany since the end of the far-left Red Army Faction’s two-decade spree in 1991, in which 34 people are estimated to have been killed.

Reporting by Joern Poltz und Alexander Huebner; Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Alison Williams

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