Former German soldier disguised as a refugee imprisoned for a far-right plot

Franco Albrecht’s trial spotlighted the neo-Nazi sympathy in the German rank. — AFP pic

Friday, July 15, 2022 11:53 pm MYT

Frankfurt, July 15-German court today sentenced former soldiers to five and a half years in prison for attempting a far-right attack disguised as a Syrian refugee.

The postponed trial spotlighted the neo-Nazi sympathy within the German army and the effectiveness of security agencies in confronting right-wing extremism. The Interior Minister states that it is the greatest threat facing the country.

“The defendant is guilty of planning a serious act of violence that puts the nation at risk,” said Judge Christoph Coller, who listened enthusiastically to defendant Franco Albrecht and bowed a little. rice field.

The three fathers, 33-year-old Albrecht, have been on the pier of the District High Court in western Frankfurt since May 2021.

The Bundeswehr lieutenant was found to have cited ministers, members of parliament, and prominent Jewish human rights activists as his potential targets. He was also convicted of weapons law violations and fraud.

Mr. Koller said Albrecht has “a nationalist view of right-wing extremists and racists that has solidified over the years.”

Defendants saw a major public figure responsible for his welcoming attitude towards refugees, which he believed would lead to a “replacement of the German people.”

Prosecutors described the incident as the first in the country’s post-war history to be accused of planning a terrorist attack by members of the army.

Albrecht’s defense team said he would appeal the verdict. After he was charged, German troops are expected to suspend him and dismiss him if the conviction is upheld.

Nazi era pistol

Albrecht, with a full beard and long hair in a ponytail, tricked authorities during the 2015-16 influx of immigrants and told courts that more than a million asylum seekers had entered Germany. ..

He put on make-up, darkened his skin, pretended to be a blunt refugee, and even though he didn’t speak Arabic, he became an Immigration Bureau official for 15 months to reveal deep flaws in the system. rice field.

The soldier, the son of a German mother and the father of a divorced Italian immigrant, was called David Benjamin under the guise of a Christian fruit seller from Damascus.

“I didn’t need Arabic or the details of my story,” Albrecht testified and explained the conversation with the Immigration Bureau.

He was arrested in 2017 in an attempt to recover a Nazi-era pistol hidden in a toilet at Vienna International Airport, and his fraud was discovered when his fingerprints matched two separate identities.

Germany’s then defense minister Ursula von der Leyen (now chairman of the European Commission) said the Albrecht case points to a much larger “attitude problem” in the German army.

Annegret Kramp Karenbauer, the successor to Von der Leyen, ordered the partial dissolution of the KSK commando unit in 2020 after it was revealed that some of its members had neo-Nazi sympathy. ..

5 machetes

The court found that Albrecht plans to use both the pistol and other weapons and explosives he took from the German army to carry out the attack.

However, the prosecutor during the trial retreated due to lack of evidence from accusations that he planned to use the identity of his fake refugees to secure the crime to the Syrians.

Attorneys sought a suspended sentence based solely on weapons law violations, but prosecutors demanded six years and three months in prison.

Albrecht, who repeatedly expressed anti-Semitism, racism, and harsh nationalist views during the trial, testified that then-Prime Minister Angela Merkel could not support the Constitution by welcoming refugees.

According to research, he owns a copy of Adolf Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf” and states that immigrants are a form of “genocide.”

Albrecht was released on bail when the trial began, but was detained in February after being found to be in possession of a Nazi memorabilia and additional weapons, including five machetes under the mattress.

Mr. Coller said the three months he had already served would count towards the judgment. — AFP Former German soldier disguised as a refugee imprisoned for a far-right plot

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