The trial against five suspected members of the “United Patriots” group begins on Wednesday (May 17) before the Higher Regional Court in Koblenz.
What are the accused accused of?
The four men and a 75-year-old suspected ringleader are said to Fall of the German government planned have. Loud federal prosecutor they joined forces by mid-January 2022 at the latest. They called themselves “United Patriots”. They are accused of founding or being a member of a terrorist organization.
With a blackout in the power supply and the kidnapping of Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, they wanted to trigger civil war-like conditions. Their goal: the end of parliamentary democracy in Germany. After the planned seizure of power, the accused would have wanted to take over government offices themselves. The federal prosecutor’s office therefore accuses them of “preparing a highly treasonable enterprise against the federal government”.
How specific were the group’s plans?
The investigators speak of “concrete preparations” by the group, which mainly exchanged information in a chat group on the Internet service Telegram and met several times in different places. The accused woman had pushed for a quick implementation of the project. She repeatedly called specific dates for this.
One of the accused had scouted out attack targets to disrupt the power supply. Another planned the kidnapping of the health minister, “possibly killing his bodyguards.” For this purpose, the group procured Kalashnikovs and pistols as well as ammunition. They would have wanted to import tons of explosives from the former Yugoslavia.
Did the accused belong to the Reich citizen scene?
Yes. The ideological leader of the group is a 75-year-old former pastor and teacher who last lived in Saxony. The woman’s writings can be found on the scene’s Internet blogs. They are in the typical style of around 23,000 followers strong Reich citizen scene written: werroneous theories that the German Reich will continue to exist, i.e. the German state under the leadership of an emperor as it existed until 1918. Thus, all of today’s state organs are in office illegally. She wrote these and other ideas, some of them extreme right-wing, in an alternation of freely associative thought poetry and a language that tries to sound legal.
On Reichsbürger blogs there are also open letters that the woman is said to have written – for example to Waldimir Putin, Donald Trump or “the Allies”. In it she partly expresses anti-Semitic thoughts, signed “Wilhelm Imperator Rex descendants”. So she saw herself as a descendant of the last German emperor.
The federal prosecutor is convinced that the woman and her accomplices were more than cranky impostors. From the thesis that the German Reich continued to exist on the basis of the constitution of 1871, they finally deduced that the democratic order of the Federal Republic of Germany had no validity. Instead, an authoritarian system of government based on the model of the German Empire must be reintroduced.
Why was the group targeting the health minister?
In the scene of lateral thinkers and Reich citizens, Karl Lauterbach has long been regarded as an enemy. Even before his appointment as Federal Minister of Health in December 2021, the medical professor had made numerous media appearances as a corona expert. In it he campaigned for strict measures such as contact restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus. He continued this course in the ministry.
Must be protected from extremists: Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach
Lauterbach also attracted the hatred of extremist circles who rejected government measures to combat the pandemic in Germany. Today, Lauterbach is under personal protection around the clock.
How did the group get caught?
An undercover investigator is said to have played a central role in the arrest of the accused. He was used for months in the vicinity of the accused. The four accused men were arrested on April 13, 2022, and the accused woman on October 13 of the same year. They have been in custody ever since. If the court comes to the conclusion that the allegations against them are correct, they could face several years in prison.