An allegedly violent left-wing group of extremist thugs including their female commander that planned and carried out multiple attacks against their far-right and neo-Nazi opponents have gone on trial in Germany.
Lina E., 26, is standing trial in Dresden, a city in the eastern German state of Saxony, accused along with three other defendants of being members of a criminal organization.
German prosecutors claim that the group carried out brutal attacks on far-right and neo-Nazi political opponents in the states of Saxony and Thuringia between October 2018 February 2020, with another attack allegedly planned for June 2020.
A total of 13 people were injured in the incidents, and some of them were left in life-threatening condition.
Lina E., whose full surname has been withheld due to local privacy laws, is standing trial on charges of being a member of a criminal organisation, grievous bodily harm, serious breaches of the peace, predatory theft, and damage to property, among other charges.
She is the only defendant out of the four standing trial to be held in custody, because the federal court believes that she is a flight risk.
She was allegedly radicalised by her friend Johann G., 27, who has a long string of past convictions and who has disappeared, having gone on the run, according to German daily Bild. He is the subject of an international arrest warrant.
The first hearing took place yesterday morning (Wednesday 8th September) and when Lina E. And her co-defendants entered the courtroom, applause and cheers broke out from about 25 of their supporters as they took their seats, according to German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Supporters outside the courthouse reportedly held up banners that read “Free Lina”.
Lina E., the alleged “commander” of the organisation, has been in custody for the last 10 months. The defendants have so far remained silent on the allegations, according to German magazine Focus.
The German magazine reports that investigators found over 20 mobile phones and several SIM cards, registered to other people, that were allegedly used by the defendants to plan the violent crimes they are accused of having committed.
They also said that investigators found “bug detectors”, expensive devices used to track government surveillance devices.
Lina E. is also allegedly used fake identity documents, as well as a collection of wigs, balaclavas, and make up to change her appearance.
The alleged criminal organisation also relied heavily on messenger services with strong encryption, such as Signal and Telegram, still according to Focus.
Lina E. is from the city of Kassel, in the central German state of Hesse. Her university bachelor thesis was focused on the subject of anti-fascism.
Between November 2017 and September 2020, she even had a small arms permit that allowed her to carry a gun, before it was revoked.
Lina E.’s lawyers, Bjoern Elberling and Erkan Zunbul, have said that the evidence against their client is “extremely thin” and that “investigations under section 129 of the criminal code are often used to conjure up the spectre of well-organised ‘left-wing extremist violent criminals’”.
Twenty-eight days of trial are scheduled for the remainder of 2021 and it is expected to conclude in March next year.
Demonstrations in support of Lina E. are set to take place outside the court and the authorities have as a result scheduled for there to be a significant police presence there too, according to Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung.
The trial is the largest against allegedly violent left-wing criminals since the notorious Red Army faction (RAF) terrorist organisation carried out a wide range of criminal activities in the 1970s, still according to Focus.
Their terrorist activities have been the subject of numerous films and books, including the Oscar-nominated (Best Foreign Language Film of the Year) 2008 German film, The Baader-Meinhof Complex.
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