Four men and a woman arrested in April 2022 for allegedly planning to kidnap German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach and wanting to stage a coup were formally charged on Monday with high treason. The five will have to answer for it before the court of Koblenz. The Federal Prosecutor’s Office announced it on Monday.
The Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office always deals with a file when it comes to terrorism or espionage. The defendants have been in pretrial detention since April 2022, when a trial was not announced on Monday. Investigators believe the group has existed since January 2022 for the purpose of “initiating a civil war in Germany by force, and in any case accepting casualties if it allowed them to overthrow the government and federal democracy.”
Instead, there should be another authoritarian system of government, based on the model of the German Empire. The group would generate a prolonged nationwide blackout, causing chaos and overthrowing democracy for a new government to take over. They also wanted to kidnap the Minister of Health.
The four men were arrested on April 13, 2022 at various locations in Germany. This was preceded by a meeting between one of the men and an undercover investigator about an arms deal. Searches across Germany resulted in the seizure of a number of firearms and ammunition, cash, gold bars, silver coins and foreign currency. Moments later, the federal prosecutor’s office resumed the investigation. In mid-October, she also had a retired teacher in Saxony arrested, who would have held a higher position in the group.
The suspects were active in the Telegram group United Patriots, which is characterized by right-wing extremist views and rejection of corona measures. They recruited accomplices via Telegram and organized at least four rallies in different parts of the country.
Germany has made far-right terrorism its biggest threat. The ideology of the ‘Reichsbürger’, ‘Citizens of the Reich’ who oppose democratic values, has seen some growth since the anti-Covid restrictions. The German authorities had also dismantled in December another conspiratorial group ready to overthrow democratic institutions and invade the Bundestag, the German parliament.