A German army officer who posed as a Syrian asylum-seeker has gone on trial accused of plotting to kill prominent politicians and blame the attack on refugees.
Federal prosecutors say the defendant, identified only as 1st Lieutenant Franco A due to German privacy rules, acted out of far-right extremist motives. The case has raised concerns about extremism in the country’s military.
Before his trial in Frankfurt’s regional court, the 32-year-old defendant denied that he had planned to carry out any attacks, the dpa news agency reported.
Franco A came to the attention of authorities after he was arrested in February 2017 while going to retrieve a pistol he had stashed in a Vienna airport bathroom.
He was freed, but Austrian authorities informed Germany. When the soldier’s fingerprint matched the one he had given to register as an asylum-seeker, it triggered the investigation.
Prosecutors alleged that the defendant’s targets included then-justice minister Heiko Maas and the Jewish head of an anti-racism organisation.
He had stockpiled four firearms including an assault rifle, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition and more than 50 explosive devices, some stolen from military stores, they said.