Issued on: 16/06/2020 – 16:09Modified: 16/06/2020 – 16:09
A German court begin hearing the case Tuesday against two far-right extremists accused of killing a regional politician whose execution-style slaying shocked the country last year.
Walter Luebcke, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkels party who led the regional administration in the Kassel area of central Germany, was shot on his porch on June 1, 2019, and died later that night.
Stephan Ernst, a 46-year-old with previous convictions for violent anti-migrant crimes, is accused of murder, attempted murder, serious bodily harm and firearms offenses.
A second man, identified only as Markus H. because of privacy rules, is charged with being an accessory to murder and breaking firearms laws.
Lines formed late Monday outside the Frankfurt regional court where the trial is taking place amid heightened security precautions. Restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic mean only a small number of reporters and members of the public will be able to witness the trial.
Prosecutors say Ernst and Markus H. both attended an October 2015 town hall event where Luebcke defended the German governments decision to allow hundreds of thousands of refugees into the country. A video of Luebckes remarks was widely shared in far-right circles, drawing numerous threats.
Federal prosecutor Dieter Killmer said Ernst was motivated by “racism and xenophobia.”
Both suspects sought "an ethnically and culturally homogenous society," said Killmer.
In January 2016, Ernst allegedly stabbed an Iraqi asylum-seeker in the back, injuring the victims spine and severing two nerves. Police only linked him to the racially-motivated stabbing after finding the knife used in his possession when he was arrested for Luebckes slaying last June.
Authorities discovered numerous illegal firearms that Ernst had stored in various locationsRead More – Source[contf] [contfnew]