German authorities press charges against 27 individuals accused of a purported right-wing conspiracy to overthrow the government.

Accused Plot to Storm Berlin Parliament Linked to Extremist Group Connected to Conspiracy Theories

German prosecutors have formally charged 27 individuals, including a self-proclaimed prince and a former far-right legislator, with terrorism offenses. These charges are in relation to an alleged conspiracy to overthrow the government, which came to light following a series of arrests one year ago.

An indictment has been filed against 10 suspects, including the key figures involved, at the state court in Frankfurt. The court, according to the German legal system, will decide whether and when the case will proceed to trial.

According to federal prosecutors, nine of the suspects, all of whom are German nationals, are accused of belonging to a terrorist organization established in July 2021 with the goal of forcibly dismantling the existing state order in Germany. These individuals are said to subscribe to a collection of conspiracy theories, including those propagated by Reich Citizens and QAnon, and hold the belief that Germany is governed by a so-called “deep state.”

The Reichsb├╝rger, or Reich Citizens movement, rejects Germany’s postwar constitution and advocates for the overthrow of the government, while QAnon is a global conspiracy theory with origins in the United States.

The nine suspects are also charged with “preparation of high treasonous undertaking.” Among them are Heinrich XIII Prince Reuss, who the group allegedly intended to install as Germany’s interim leader; Birgit Malsack-Winkemann, a former lawmaker and judge associated with the far-right Alternative for Germany party; and a retired paratrooper.

Prosecutors have stated that the group planned to storm the parliament building in Berlin and apprehend lawmakers. They intended to primarily negotiate a new post-coup order with Russia, one of the victorious nations of World War II.

In 2022, Reuss reportedly attempted to establish contact with Russian officials to garner support for the plan. The response from Russia remains unclear.

A Russian woman identified as Vitalia B has been accused of supporting the terrorist organization, allegedly helping to establish contact with the Russian consulate in Leipzig and accompanying Reuss on the visit.

An additional 17 alleged members of the group have been charged separately in indictments issued by courts in Stuttgart and Munich, according to prosecutors.

Authorities have repeatedly warned about the significant threat posed by far-right extremists to Germany’s internal security. This threat was underscored by the murder of a regional politician and an attempted attack on a synagogue in 2019. A year later, far-right extremists participating in a protest against the country’s pandemic restrictions unsuccessfully attempted to storm the parliament building.

In an unrelated case, five individuals went on trial in May for an alleged plot by a group calling themselves United Patriots, which prosecutors claim is also connected to the Reich Citizens movement. The group was accused of planning a far-right coup and kidnapping Germany’s health minister.

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