NUREMBERG, Germany (Reuters) - A right-wing extremist member of a group that claims allegiance to Adolf Hitler’s World War Two-era German Reich was convicted of murder on Monday for shooting and killing a police officer and sentenced to life in prison.
The conviction was handed down amid growing concern in Germany at homegrown right-wing movements that contest the country’s post-World War Two democratic order and follows the arrival in parliament this month of the first far-right party in decades.
The man, known only as Wolfgang P. because of German court rules, fired through a glazed door on policemen who had arrived to search his flat last October for illegal weapons. One of the officers was killed.
The district court in the southern city of Nuremberg found that the shooting had been premeditated, a spokesman said, describing the suspect as “malicious”.
“He knew that a police officer was stationed in front of this door and wanted to kill him,” said spokesman Friedrich Weitner, describing the court’s conclusions.
Throughout the trial, P. declined to identify himself to the court, in order to signify his rejection of the German state.
The murder led Germany’s domestic intelligence agency to start monitoring the Reichsbuerger (Reich Citizens) movement for suspected extremist and unconstitutional activities.
The movement, which authorities believe may have up to 900 members, regards the modern German state as illegitimate. Its members say they owe allegiance only to the German Reich, or state, despite its abolition in 1945.
Reporting By Ralph Brock, writing by Thomas Escritt, editing by Ed Osmond