German on trial for belonging to Turkish leftist group

9th December 2008, Comments 0 comments

Prosecutors accuse her of shared responsibility for the party's public relations and awareness and approval to terrorist attacks during the 1990s.

Dusseldorf -- A female German journalist pleaded not guilty Monday to sanctioning terrorist attacks by a far-left Turkish group.

Heike S, 43, is accused of membership in the terrorist wing of Devrimci Halk Kurtulus Partisi-Cephesi (DHKP-C), a party seeking a Marxist-Leninist state in Turkey.

At the start of her trial in Dusseldorf, the woman denied prosecutors' allegations that she was a senior member of the party.

They said she shared responsibility for the party's public relations and was also aware of and gave her approval to terrorist attacks during the 1990s.

The group is accused of firebombing Turkish missions in Germany and beating up renegades and rivals. Germany banned the group in 1998 and the wing announced in 1999 it was giving up violence in Germany, where a substantial Turkish community lives.

Heike S was arrested on arrival at a German airport in December 2007 after evading arrest for six years.

She told the court she joined the DHKP-C out of idealism after visiting a slum area in Istanbul. She said she helped translate pamphlets.

She admitted attending meetings of the party's governing council but denied she was present at such meetings when death sentences were handed down against dissenters.

Prosecutors said a core group of the party's Germany-based leaders had formed the terrorist wing in 1995 to coordinate a series of bombings. The attacks killed several people in Turkey.

The DHKP-C has been accused of using suicide bombers to achieve its declared goal of replacing the Turkish government with a Marxist-Leninist administration.


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