Germany: sixteen neo-Nazis charged with forming a criminal organization

The trial of 16 right-wing extremists charged with forming a criminal organization that sought to form a new Nazi state in Germany without foreigners opened Monday in Germany. Prosecutors in the western city of Koblenz charge the suspects, aged 17 to 48, formed a group calling itself "Kameradschaft Westerwald."

Prosecutor Christopher do Paco-Quesado told the court the group, which consists of 40 members, has existed since 2002 and planned violent actions against members of the rival leftist scene around 2004, the AP reports.

Several of the defendants said they planned to confess during the course of the trial, which was adjourned after about two hours. It is scheduled to resume next Monday.

Fourteen of the accused group members face additional charges of intimidation and breaching the peace that stem from an alleged attack on members of left-wing groups at a pop concert in January. Some of them also are accused of arson, bodily harm, displaying Nazi symbols - a criminal offense in Germany - and other crimes, including violating explosives laws.

The group's founders met while they were members of the far-right National Democratic Party, but were disappointed with its policies and left the party to form their own organization, Paco-Quesado said. A.M.

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