New arrest in German neo-Nazi murder cell probe

29th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

German prosecutors said they had arrested on Tuesday a suspected accomplice to a neo-Nazi killing cell thought to be behind the murders of 10 people, mainly Turkish shopkeepers.

Police detained the 36-year-old German man, identified only as Ralf W., early on Tuesday morning. "The accused is strongly suspected to be an accessory in six counts of murder and one attempted murder," federal prosecutors said.

Prosecutors also suspect the man, who has been active in far-right circles in the eastern state of Thuringia since 1995, gave financial assistance to the extremist cell and procured weapons for its members in 2001 or 2002.

The arrest brought to four the number of people detained over the activities of the extremist "National Socialist Underground" (NSU), whose discovery earlier this month shocked the nation.

The NSU had three members. Two were found dead this month in an apparent suicide and the other, a 36-year-old woman identified as Beate Z., has turned herself in but refused to speak to police.

Since then, authorities arrested on November 24 a man identified as Andre E., who stands accused of making a chilling video in 2007 -- discovered only this month -- in which the militants claimed responsibility for the murders.

Another man, 37, has been detained on charges of aiding and abetting the group as police search for further accomplices.

The case has sparked allegations that the country may have turned a blind eye to the threat posed by right-wing extremism, despite Germany's deep-seated shame over its Nazi past.

And it has revived calls by political leaders including Chancellor Angela Merkel to examine a potential ban of the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party, after an attempt that was struck down by the constitutional court in 2003.

© 2011 AFP

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