A power outage across Germany and the kidnapping of Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) should only be the beginning: A suspected terrorist group from the "Reichsbürger" milieu, which is said to have planned the fall of the federal government, will in all likelihood have to face the Koblenz responsible for the Higher Regional Court. Charges were brought there on January 16, as the federal prosecutor in Karlsruhe announced on Monday. The four men and one woman have been in custody for a long time.
The federal prosecutor accuses them of preparing a highly treasonable enterprise against the federal government. Three of the men and the woman are said to have been ringleaders in the group, and two of the men were said to have prepared a serious act of violence that was dangerous to the state.
arrests in the past year
The four men were arrested on April 13, 2022 at various locations in Germany. According to a decision by the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) published in November, an undercover investigator played a key role in the crime, working "in the immediate vicinity of the accused" for months. One of the defendants had met this undercover cop about a gun deal just prior to his arrest.
A number of firearms and ammunition, cash, gold bars, silver coins and foreign currency were seized during nationwide searches. A little later, the federal prosecutor's office took over the investigation. In mid-October she had the woman arrested in Saxony - a retired teacher.
According to the findings of the investigators, she significantly shaped the ideology of the group, according to which the German Reich continued to exist on the basis of the constitution of 1871 - the basic state order of the Federal Republic could therefore not claim validity. The common goal was to "trigger civil war-like conditions in Germany by means of violence and at least by accepting casualties and thus bring about the overthrow of the federal government and parliamentary democracy".
According to the Federal Prosecutor's Office, there were "increasingly concrete preparations" and a "three-stage action plan": First, a longer nationwide power blackout should be brought about. Then the group wanted to kidnap the federal health minister. Both should unleash chaos in order to take power. Among other things, the idea was to have an actor imitate the Federal President or Chancellor live on television - in order to announce the dismissal of the federal government. In the new leadership, four of the accused would then have assumed central functions.
It was also said that two of the men had been looking for supporters in various chat groups since October 2021 at the latest. Between December 2021 and February 2022 there were four meetings in Hesse, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate and Thuringia, at which "the further concrete procedure was planned and developed".
Approval of the indictment is being examined
A spokeswoman for the Koblenz Higher Regional Court (OLG) said that the state protection senate would now examine whether it would allow the indictment and open the main proceedings. The allegations are extensive and must be thoroughly examined. Because all five are in pre-trial detention, the speed-up requirement applies in detention matters. The OLG Koblenz was chosen because one of the accused came from Neustadt an der Weinstraße in Rhineland-Palatinate. According to earlier information, the other three men come from Falkensee near Berlin and from the districts of Landshut (Bavaria) and Ammerland (Lower Saxony).
State Interior Minister Michael Ebling (SPD) said: "Our early warning system, the Rhineland-Palatinate protection of the constitution, worked." He now has great confidence in the judiciary. "Anyone who has the overthrow of the state in mind must notice very clearly that this constitutional state is defensive and works."
In the summer, Federal Public Prosecutor Peter Frank announced that he intends to take stronger action against so-called Reich citizens in the future. On December 7, the federal prosecutor's office had 25 suspects arrested in a major raid on the scene - including former officers and police officers and a former AfD member of the Bundestag. They are also accused of planning a state overthrow.