Far-right 'Reichsbürger' coup trial opens in Germany

The alleged leaders of a suspected far-right plot to topple the German government are on trial in Frankfurt this Tuesday, opening the most prominent proceedings in a case that shocked the country in late 2022.

Nine defendants are facing judges at a special temporary courthouse built to accommodate the large number of defendants, lawyers and media dealing with the case.

About 260 witnesses are expected at a trial that the Frankfurt state court expects to extend well into 2025, one of three related trials that in total involve more than two dozen suspects.

The defendants include the highest-profile suspects in the so-called "Reichsbürger" plot, among them Heinrich XIII Prince Reuss, whom the group allegedly planned to install as Germany’s provisional new leader; Birgit Malsack-Winkemann, a judge and former lawmaker with the far-right Alternative for Germany party; and former German military officers.

'Reichsbürger' conspiracy movement

Most of them are charged with belonging to a terrorist organization that was founded in July 2021 with the aim of “doing away by force with the existing state order in Germany,” and also with “preparation of high treasonous undertaking.”

Reuss and another suspect, a former paratrooper, are alleged to have been the group's ringleaders.

Prosecutors have said that the accused believed in a “conglomerate of conspiracy myths,” including Reichsbürger (Reich Citizens) and QAnon ideology, and were convinced that Germany is ruled by a so-called “deep state".

Read more on RFI English

Read also:
Far-right Le Pen urges French to inflict 'crushing electoral sanction' on Macron
French far right makes immigration focus of EU election campaign
How France will help decide the 2024 European elections