Suspect of far-right coup plot in Germany makes ‘full confession’


A member of the far-right extremist group Reich Citizens made a wide-ranging confession before the Dusseldorf High Court on Wednesday, as prosecutors revealed the movement’s plans to seize power by overthrowing the German government.

The suspect has expressly admitted that he is a member of a terrorist organization and participated in plans to commit high treason, he said in statements from his lawyer.

“I would like to distance myself from my radical ideas at the time. The whole thing is true in itself. I have involved myself in this nonsense,” he said.

Multiple trials are underway across Germany against members of the Reich Citizens’ Group, who allegedly planned to overthrow the German government by force. The suspected leader of the coup plot was Prince Heinrich XIII of Reuss.

According to the indictment, the group devised a three-phase plan, starting with attacks on sixteen German power lines to cause a four-week blackout, resulting in chaos across the country.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach would be kidnapped, while the body doubles of Chancellor Olaf Scholz or President Walter Steinmeier would be used to announce the government’s resignation.

Finally, a group of 277 men in Berlin would have appointed a new government, replacing the country’s Basic Law with the Imperial Constitution of 1871 as a model.

Suspect confesses in trial in Düsseldorf

During his trial in Düsseldorf, the suspect said that he had renounced far-right ideology since his arrest.

He denied being part of plans to kidnap former Chancellor Angela Merkel, but admitted he was prepared to carry out attacks on power lines.

“I had to see how many electricity cables come from Belgium,” he said. “But I was never there and simply told them there were two power lines,” he added.

The man, a technician at a regional hospital in Düsseldorf, became radicalized during the coronavirus pandemic, when he stopped consuming “mainstream media” and started gathering information exclusively through YouTube and the social media platform Telegram.

He said that before his arrest he was increasingly distancing himself from the Reich Citizens Group, but did not know how to leave. ‘I already knew a lot then. They also wanted to get weapons. Looking back, I could have asked for police protection,” he added.

The suspect announced through his lawyers that he was prepared to make a ‘full confession’, but the chairman occasionally expressed doubts as to whether the suspect had actually distanced himself from the group.

The higher regional court has scheduled 20 trial days for the proceedings until mid-September. The man, who has been in custody since October, faces a prison sentence of up to ten years.

The Empire Citizens movement

Reich citizens claim that the historic German Empire, founded in 1871 under Emperor Wilhelm I, still exists and did not end with Germany’s defeat in World War II in 1945.

They do not recognize the Federal Republic of Germany, nor constitutional structures such as the German parliament. The members also do not believe that they should legally pay taxes, fines or social security contributions.

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency estimates that around 23,000 people are involved in the movement.

The coup plot was discovered during a large-scale anti-terrorism attack in December 2022.

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