Members of the far-right Reichsbürger (Reichsbürger) movement believe in deep-state conspiracy theories that deny the existence of Germany’s post-World War II Federal Republic and oppose the German government’s legitimacy. The German terrorists actually went as far as plotting to create a civil war.
The federal prosecutor’s office announced Monday that five people have been charged with treason for allegedly plotting to topple the German government.
The accused, each of whom had ties to Germany’s far-right Reichsbürger scene as well as other neo-Nazi groups, wanted to incite “civil war-like conditions in Germany by means of violence” in order to destabilize the government, according to the prosecutor. In addition, the defendants are accused of plotting to abduct German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach.
Lauterbach expressed gratitude to investigators and the German Federal Criminal Police for the arrest. “Criminal federal police officials risk their lives for us. This is a great service,” he tweeted.
What was the alleged terror plot?
The suspects are charged of plotting to target electricity infrastructure, causing a nationwide blackout, and then kidnapping the health minister, executing his bodyguards if required.
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According to the federal prosecutor’s office, the suspects intended to take control of the state and substitute it with a “authoritarian system of government based on the model of the German Empire.”
Prosecutors claimed the accused had undertaken increasingly concrete preparations, including establishing separate military and administrative wings of their organization.
According to the prosecutor’s statement, the organization was aware that the plans could result in the deaths of people.
What else do we know about the charges?
The suspects will answer to the higher regional court in Koblenz, Rhineland-Palatinate, according to authorities in the southern city of Karlsruhe. They have been charged with “founding or being a member of a domestic terrorist organization” as well as “preparing an act of high treason” against the German federal government.
Some of the suspects are additionally charged with “preparing a serious act of violence that constitutes a threat to the state, or financing terrorism.”
In April 2022, four individuals from the organization were apprehended. In October, a woman identified as the ringleader was apprehended. All five suspects are in custody.
Members of the far-right Reichsbürger (Reichsbürger) movement believe in deep-state conspiracy theories that deny the existence of Germany’s post-World War II Federal Republic and oppose the German government’s legitimacy. They argue that the German empire’s borders from 1937 still remain.
Members of neo-Nazi gangs such as “Atomwaffen Division Deutschland” (AWD), “Sonderkommando 1418” (SKD 1418), Combat 18 Deutschland, and Knockout 51 were also pursued in police raids that resulted in arrests.