Germany Braces for Trial of Far-Right Coup Plotters Led by Prince Reuss

Germany Braces for Trial of Far-Right Coup Plotters Led by Prince Reuss

One of the most significant legal proceedings in German history is set to commence, as 27 individuals, including a former soldier, conspiracy theorist, astrologer, and anti-vaxxer, face trial for their involvement in a far-right plot to violently overthrow the government. Led by Heinrich XIII Prince Reuss, a self-proclaimed figure with aristocratic roots, the group orchestrated a detailed plan to topple the country's parliamentary system.

The trial, which is divided into three separate proceedings due to the complexity and scale of the case, begins with nine individuals labeled as the "military wing" standing trial in the southern city of Stuttgart on terrorism charges. The remaining members, including Prince Reuss himself and other prominent figures, are scheduled to stand trial in Frankfurt later in May.

At the heart of the conspiracy was Prince Reuss, an antisemitic businessman descended from a formerly aristocratic family. He founded the group with the explicit intention of violently dismantling the existing state order. In the event of a successful coup, Prince Reuss was poised to be declared the provisional head of a new German state, with plans to redraw the country's borders to reflect those of 1937.

Federal prosecutors uncovered the plot in December 2022, following extensive anti-terror raids involving thousands of officers searching 150 properties across 11 German states, as well as abroad. The group had been actively forging their plans since August 2021, amassing a substantial arsenal of weapons in preparation for their intended coup.

The plotters, many of whom were associated with the far-right extremist Reichsb├╝rger movement, had access to an alarming array of weaponry, including firearms, cutting and stabbing weapons, and a large quantity of ammunition. Their plans included storming the Reichstag in Berlin with armed support, with the aim of arresting members of the Bundestag and forcibly overthrowing the government.

Central to their scheme was an "execution list" compiled by an ex-elite soldier and survival trainer known as "Wolf." This list included high-profile targets such as Chancellor Olaf Scholz, along with prominent television personalities and political figures. In anticipation of their anticipated regime, preparations included commissioning a tailor to create "Nazi-style" uniforms for certain members of the group.

The group also engaged in dubious financial transactions, paying a Swiss criminal gang approximately €140,000 for weapons. They even harbored fantastical beliefs, including the existence of secret "subterranean children's prisons" operated by a supposed "world government."

Some members of the group delved into esoteric practices, such as astrology, to guide their decision-making process. For instance, Thomas T, a 60-year-old welder from Bavaria, and Hildegard Leiding, a 60-year-old member of the right-wing AfD party and an astrologer, purportedly sought out candidates for the "future government" based on astrological readings.

Other individuals involved in the plot included Melanie Ritter, a 57-year-old doctor specializing in predicting the future through eggs and a skeptic of the Covid vaccine, who expected to become the health minister in the event of a successful coup. Additionally, former lieutenant colonel R├╝diger von Pescatore, aged 70, played a significant role in interpreting events as signals for the planned attack.

Despite their elaborate planning and preparations, the coup never materialized. Investigators noted the first meeting of the group, led by Prince Reuss, took place in October 2021 in a Bavarian pub. Prince Reuss allegedly sought international recognition for his fantasy state, "Dukedom Reuss," and even attempted to solicit support for the coup from the Russian consulate via his Russian girlfriend.

In response to the charges, Prince Reuss's lawyer, Roman von Alvensleben, refrained from commenting on his client's position, stating only that he could not confirm whether Prince Reuss posed a threat to the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany or endorsed the use of violence.

The trial, with its intricate web of conspiracies, dubious beliefs, and far-reaching implications, serves as a stark reminder of the persistent threat posed by extremist ideologies and the importance of vigilant law enforcement efforts in safeguarding democratic institutions. As the legal proceedings unfold, the eyes of the nation remain fixed on the courtroom, awaiting justice to be served.

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