German soldier in alleged far-right plot facing May trial


BERLIN — A German court said Tuesday that a military officer indicted on allegations that he plotted to kill prominent politicians and blame the attack on refugees will go on trial in May.

The case of the officer, identified only as 1st Lt. Franco A. in line with German privacy rules, raised concerns about extremism in the country’s military. The Frankfurt state court said he will go on trial on May 18, and court sessions have been set through June 24.

The 32-year-old suspect, who is currently free pending trial, is accused of planning a serious act of violence among other offenses.

Prosecutors allege the suspect, whom they have described as a “right-wing nationalist,” managed to pose as a Syrian asylum-seeker and planned to carry out his attack under that identity so that refugees would be blamed.

His alleged targets included then-Justice Minister Heiko Maas and 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, prosecutors said.

The suspect 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’d given when he registered as a refugee, it triggered the investigation.

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