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Trial starts of German far-right group that planned attacks

April 13, 2021 GMT
An armed court officer stands in front of an entrance to the grounds of the Higher Regional Court in Stuttgart-Stammheim, Germany, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. Twelve suspected members and supporters of the right-wing terrorist group "Gruppe S." must answer to the Stuttgart Higher Regional Court in a state protection trial. (Photo/AP via Pool)
An armed court officer stands in front of an entrance to the grounds of the Higher Regional Court in Stuttgart-Stammheim, Germany, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. Twelve suspected members and supporters of the right-wing terrorist group "Gruppe S." must answer to the Stuttgart Higher Regional Court in a state protection trial. (Photo/AP via Pool)

BERLIN (AP) — Twelve Germans went on trial Tuesday accused of being part of or supporting a far-right group that plotted to carry out deadly attacks on Muslims with the aim of stoking civil unrest and overthrowing the government.

Members of the so-called “Group S” had hoarded firearms, axes and swords for the planned attacks, which were foiled by their arrests in February last year.

Federal prosecutors accuse eleven members of the group of seeking to “rock and ultimately overturn the state and social order of the Federal Republic of Germany.” Their alleged targets included Muslims, political enemies and parliament.

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Eight of the men are accused of founding a “terrorist organization” in September 2019, led by two suspects identified only as Werner S. and Tony E. Their surnames weren’t released for privacy reasons.

Three others are accused of membership in the terrorist organization, while the twelfth defendant is charged with supporting the group.

The men largely communicated by phone and via messaging apps, but also met in person several times.

The trial before the regional court in the southwestern city of Stuttgart is expected to last several months.