Eight men between the ages of 21 and 32 will face charges of “forming a far-right terrorist group” in the east German city Dresden, according to the Karlsruhe Federal Prosecutor’s Office.
The hearing will be held in the secure room of the courthouse in Saxony, a state considered a bastion of the far right, where the Alternative for Germany (AfD) came second in elections early September with more than 27.5 percent of the vote, a short distance behind Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, who won 32.1 percent of the vote.
“The suspects pursued revolutionary goals aimed at undermining the democratic rule of law,” said the prosecution, on the basis of the documents and data seized.
They planned to perpetrate “violent attacks and armed attacks” against foreigners and people of different political persuasions and had taken steps to acquire semi-automatic weapons. They were allegedly planning an attack on Berlin on October 3, German reunification day, according to the prosecutor’s office, which did not give any more details.
Some of the defendants allegedly attacked a group of people in Chemnitz on September 14 after a demonstration by the right-wing extremist movement Pro Chemnitz. Investigators viewed this attack as a test run for the further attacks they had planned.
Earlier this month Interior minister, Horst Seehofer, said the rise of the militant far right was “as big a threat as radical Islamism”, according to the Guardian newpaper.
At the weekend Seehofer said police officers had uncovered 1,091 weapons, including firearms and explosives, during investigations into crimes linked to the far right last year, compared with 676 in 2017.
The prosecution plans to call 75 witnesses to testify in the trial, which is expected to last until April 2020 and has been described by Attorney General Peter Frank as “one of the most significant legal terrorism cases”.