Seven years' jail term for neo-Nazi Martin Wiese
4 May 2005, MUNICH - Martin Wiese, 29, a German neo-Nazi who stockpiled guns and explosives, was convicted by a Munich court on Wednesday of running a terrorist organisation and jailed for seven years.
4 May 2005
MUNICH - Martin Wiese, 29, a German neo-Nazi who stockpiled guns and explosives, was convicted by a Munich court on Wednesday of running a terrorist organisation and jailed for seven years.
Police discovered the group of fewer than a dozen was contemplating a bomb attack on the building site for a new Munich synagogue and arrested all its members in 2003 before they could act.
Presiding judge Bernd von Heintschel-Heinegg said Wiese and three lieutenants who were convicted with him had planned "a bloody revolution" to overthrow democracy in Germany by force of arms and establish a Nazi dictatorship.
The state superior court sentenced Wiese's deputies to 27, 51 and 69 months in jail.
Most of the group, known as the Kameradschaft Sued (southern fellowship), were under 30 and some were teenagers still at school.
At a separate trial, three girls and a boy were convicted of terrorism last month, given suspended terms and banned from meeting with Wiese. Police say the Kameradschaft ended with the arrests.
The court heard how the Wiese group contemplated setting off a bomb on a vacant lot in downtown Munich at the time of a 9 November 2003 foundation-stone ceremony, attended by Germany's president, for a new Jewish community centre on the site.
The date was significant as the anniversary of the Night of Broken Glass in 1938, when Nazi gangs vandalised or set fire to synagogues all over Germany. Many German leaders attended the 2003 ceremony to show their repugnance for the neo-Nazis, and construction went ahead.
Munich was the city where Adolf Hitler first came to prominence with an armed revolt on 8 November 1923 known as the Beer Hall Putsch that was quickly put down by police.
Von Heintschel-Heinegg said he had no doubt that the Wiese group intended to mount attacks with the guns, ammunition, a hand grenade and 1.2 kilograms of high-explosive TNT that it had stockpiled.
He said the Kameradschaft leaders discussed conducting an initial bomb attack during the synagogue foundation ceremony, or amid crowds on Munich's central square, the Marienplatz.
The authorities learned of the plans through a police spy and phone taps.
Wiese had admitted weapons and explosives offences, but not being a terrorist leader. His lawyer had said Tuesday he would accept a six-year term. Prosecutors demanded he be jailed for eight years. The court entered a conviction against Wiese on all the charges.
Of the lieutenants, who were aged 22 to 28, two admitted terrorism in the five-month-long Wiese trial and testified against their former chief.
Sentencing the four, the judge said they would have faced far harsher punishment if the attacks had got beyond the planning stage or there had been a concrete threat to persons or property.
Subject: German news