Five Germans On Trial For Bomb Attacks On U.S. Soldiers
FRANKFURT, West Germany (AP) _ Five suspected neo-Nazis went on trial Wednesday in a state court charged with car-bomb attacks on three U.S. soldiers in 1982 and armed robberies of five banks.
Three defendants - Hans-Peter Fraas; 24, Dieter Sporleder, 24; and Helge Blasche, 42 - have been in custody since their arrests in West Germany in February 1983.
Walther Kexel and Ulrich Joahnn Tillmann, both 23, were extradited to West Germany in June 1983 following their arrests in London.
The Federal Prosecutor’s office has issued an international arrest warrant for a sixth suspect, 26-year-old Odfried Hepp, who apparently fled West Germany after the bombings.
All six were linked by the prosecutor to far-right political groups that espouse neo-Nazi political aims.
The five defendants are charged with forming a terrorist group, robbing five banks of the equivalent of $210,000 in 1982 and planting three car bombs that seriously injured two American soldiers in December 1982 in central West Germany.
The soldiers, a U.S. Army captain in Darmstadt and a specialist 5 in Butzbach, were wounded when they sat down in the drivers’ seats of their private cars and triggered pressure plates to set off the bombs.
A third American soldier in Frankfurt escaped injury when the bomb rigged in his car failed to detonate.
The trial is expected to last for several weeks. The defendants face long jail terms and heavy fines if convicted.