Twelve charged in Germany with plotting mosque attacks, murders

Eleven German men have been charged with belonging to a far-right terror organization on allegations they were planning deadly attacks on Muslims to create unrest and eventually overthrow the German government. (File/AFP)
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Updated 13 November 2020

Twelve charged in Germany with plotting mosque attacks, murders

  • The group plotted to bring about “conditions similar to civil war” by attacking mosques and Muslims
  • The group also considered using force against political opponents, prosecutors said

BERLIN: German prosecutors have charged 12 men with plotting well-funded, armed attacks on mosques in which they planned to kill or injure as many Muslims as possible, authorities said on Friday.
"They aimed through attacks on mosques and the killing and wounding of as many Muslims as possible to create civil war-like conditions," prosecutors said in a statement.
Prosecutors said the suspects, 11 gang members and one accomplice, had met regularly to plan, with all but one of them pledging to contribute thousands towards a 50,000-euro ($59,000) pot to finance the purchase of weapons.
The suspects, aged between 31 and 61, are all Germans and all but one of them has been detained. The twelfth is still at large, prosecutors in the southeastern city of Stuttgart said.
Another suspect had died while in custody. A prosecution official said he had killed himself and that there was nothing to indicate foul play.
The official said cash sums in the "mid four-digit range" had been found in suspects' houses.
Germany has experienced a spate of right-wing attacks in recent years directed at minorities and those perceived to support them.
Members of the so-called National Socialist Underground were convicted in 2018 for a decade-long spree of murders of ethnic Turks. Last year, another right-wing extremist targeted a synagogue in Eastern Germany, killing two bystanders.
A suspected far-right sympathiser is on trial for killing conservative politician Walter Luebcke. Luebcke, a vocal supporter of Chancellor Angela Merkel, had called for refugees to be given the support and welcome they needed during the 2015 refugee crisis.
Far-right sympathisers have also been unmasked in the police and armed forces.
Far-right extremism is particularly sensitive in Germany because of its responsibility for the Nazis' World War Two genocide of six million European Jews.


Scotland leader ‘never been more certain’ of independence

Updated 28 November 2020

Scotland leader ‘never been more certain’ of independence

  • The head of Scotland’s devolved government and the leader of the pro-independence SNP told supporters at the party’s virtual conference

GLASGOW: Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Saturday said she had “never been more certain” of achieving independence, with Britain’s final departure from EU trading arrangements set to precede key Scottish elections in the months ahead.

The head of Scotland’s devolved government and the leader of the pro-independence SNP told supporters at the party’s virtual conference that the prospect of a break between Scotland and the rest of the UK has never been closer.

“Independence is in clear sight — and with unity of purpose, humility and hard work I have never been so certain that we will deliver it,” she said.

Sturgeon and the SNP have argued for a second referendum on Scottish independence since the party’s overwhelming victory among Scottish seats in Britain’s 2019 general election.

Now she hopes that a further resounding win in May elections to the Edinburgh parliament will hand her party a mandate for a second bid to quit the UK.

Opinion polls in recent months have shown that a majority of public opinion in Scotland now supports independence.

The country chose to remain part of the four-nation United Kingdom in a 2014 referendum on the issue.

But Scots later voted by a thumping majority in 2016 to remain in the European Union, a referendum the Leave side won by a narrow margin when taking the rest of Britain into account.

Since then, “we have won a landslide victory in a UK general election and support for independence has risen, it has become the sustained and majority view in public opinion this year,” said Sturgeon.

“Who should be taking the decisions that shape our futures? We know that it is the people who live here, wherever they come from, who can best harness Scotland’s immense human and natural resources.

“Let us reach out to all Scotland like never before,” she added.

Sturgeon urged her party to “demonstrate ... that Scotland is ready to take our place in the global family of independent nations,” saying it was “now a nation on the brink of making history.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly rebuffed calls from for a another referendum, saying that the 2014 vote settled the question for a generation.

Earlier this month, Scottish independence campaigners seized on comments by the prime minister in which he said the creation of a devolved parliament in Edinburgh had been “a disaster.”

In response Sturgeon said the only way to protect the parliament was “with independence.”

On Thursday, she said a referendum could be held “in the earlier part” of the next parliamentary session.

“The people of Scotland have the right to choose their future. Let’s now focus all our efforts on making sure we bring about that better country they and future generations deserve,” Sturgeon said on Saturday.