September 12, 2017 / 8:18 AM / 9 months ago

German prosecutor demands life for neo-Nazi suspect Zschaepe

MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - A German prosecutor urged judges on Tuesday to give a sentence of life imprisonment to Beate Zschaepe, the main surviving member of a neo-Nazi gang accused of murdering 10 people, most of them immigrants, over seven years from the year 2000.

Defendant Beate Zschaepe, accused of helping to found a neo-Nazi cell called the National Socialist Underground (NSU), arrives for the continuation of her trial at a courtroom in Munich, southern Germany September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

Prosecutors say Zschaepe was part of the National Socialist Underground (NSU) group which killed eight Turks, a Greek and a German policewoman.

Zschaepe, 42, has denied taking part in the murders with two friends who killed themselves in 2011 when police discovered the gang by chance. But she has, through her lawyer, said she felt morally guilty for not stopping them.

FILE PHOTO: Beate Zschaepe, a member of the neo-Nazi group National Socialist Underground (NSU) enters the courthouse before the start of her trial in Munich May 6, 2013. The surviving member of NSU blamed for a series of racist murders that scandalised Germany and shamed its authorities goes on trial on Monday in one of the most anticipated court cases in recent German history. The trial in Munich will focus on 38-year-old Zschaepe, who is charged with complicity in the murder of eight Turks, a Greek and a policewoman between 2000-2007, as well as two bombings in immigrant areas of Cologne, and 15 bank robberies. REUTERS/Michael Dalder/File Photo

Judges have yet to give a verdict.

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“The accused is criminally fully responsible for her behaviour,” said federal prosecutor Herbert Diemer, calling for Zschaepe to be given a life sentence for 10 murders.

He described Zschaepe as an “ice-cold, calculating person”, adding that there were no mitigating circumstances.

Zschaepe, 42, listened impassively, resting her chin on her hands.

Prosecutors said in July that four years of hearing evidence had shown that Zschaepe was a “co-founder, member and accomplice” of a terrorist organisation.

The group had carried out “the most violent and infamous terror attacks” — including two bombings and 15 bank robberies — since the end of the Red Army Faction’s two-decade spree in 1991, in which 34 people are estimated to have been killed.

Although the NSU murders were carried out by Zschaepe’s two friends, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Boehnhardt, both now dead in what is believed to have been a murder-suicide, she played a major role behind the scenes, according to prosecutors.

Reporting by Joern Poltz and Thomas Escritt in Berlin, Editing by Madeline Chambers and Angus MacSwan

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