Neo-Nazi Sentenced to Life for German Race Murder

CAPITALS —After a five-year trial, a member of a neo-Nazi gang has been found guilty of 10 racially-motivated murders.

Beate Zschäpe was the main defendant on trial over the murder of eight ethnic Turks, a Greek citizen and a policewoman between 2000 and 2007.

The verdict carries an automatic life sentence.

The connection between the murders was only discovered by chance in 2011, after a botched robbery led to the neo-Nazi group's discovery.

Zschäpe shared a flat in the eastern town of Zwickau with two men, who died in an apparent suicide pact. The bodies of Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt were found in a burnt-out caravan used in the robbery.

Zschäpe, Mundlos and Böhnhardt had formed a cell called the National Socialist Underground (NSU). A fire at their home - apparently in an attempt to destroy evidence - led to Zschäpe turning herself in.

The NSU's seven-year campaign exposed serious shortcomings in the German state's monitoring of neo-Nazis, and led to a public inquiry into how police failed to discover the murder plot.

Four other defendants were also given jail terms for their role in helping the NSU gang:

·         Ralf Wohlleben was sentenced to 10 years for aiding and abetting murder - he procured the silenced gun

·         Carsten S, a juvenile at the time, was found guilty of handing the gang the pistol and silencer, and was given three years

·         André E was given two years and six months for helping a terrorist group

·         Holger G received three years for giving his birth certificate and other ID to Uwe Mundlos

Speaking ahead of the verdict, Zschäpe's defence lawyer said she would appeal against any life sentence.

During the trial, Zschäpe denied taking part in the murders - but said she felt guilty for not doing more to stop them.

(BBC)

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