Europe

German 'neo-Nazi plot' suspects on trial in Munich

Police standing guard outside a school where refugees have barricaded themselves inside in Berlin in Germany on 25 June 2014 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police believe the arrest of the four Old School Society leaders may have prevented a deadly attack

Four far-right extremists have gone on trial in Munich, charged with planning an attack on an asylum seekers' centre days before their arrest last year.

Operating under the name "Old School Society", the three men and a woman are accused of forming a far-right group.

Prosecutors say they had procured fireworks in the Czech Republic, and were planning to create nail bombs.

Last week, 5 people were arrested in Germany, also suspected of plotting attacks.

The "Old School Society" (OSS) is suspected of having planned an attack in May 2015 on a refugee centre in Borna in the eastern state of Saxony.

The four were arrested in police raids two days before the alleged plot was due to be carried out.

Social media

According to investigators, they made contact with each other via social media networks such as Facebook and Whatsapp in early 2014 and later that year formed the OSS.

They are accused of setting up a terrorist group, with a president, vice-president, and their own manifesto.

The suspected head of the group has been identified only as Andreas H, a 57-year-old man from the Bavarian city of Augsburg. The group's self-styled vice president, Markus W, and his girlfriend, Denise Vanessa G, are from Saxony while the fourth suspect, Olaf O, is said to be from the western town of Bochum.

Tensions over immigration have risen in recent months, particularly in Saxony.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Two attacks were carried out on refugee accommodation in Freital

Last week, police arrested five people in Freital near Dresden, also accused of planning far-right attacks on asylum hostels. Although one of the four suspects comes from Freital, last week's raid was not linked to the OSS trial.

Although prosecutors believe an attack was imminent, a lawyer for one of the four suspects, Michael Rosenthal, said: "It's not as if any of the plans they made have actually been put into practice."

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