Closing speech of the defense of Franco A. before the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court: In the trial against the Bundeswehr officer, who is suspected of being a terrorist, his lawyer pleaded for acquittal on the most important charge on Friday.
According to defense attorney Johannes Hock, when accused of preparing a serious criminal offense endangering the state, the court should decide according to the legal principle “In dubio pro reo” (in case of doubt for the accused). The other allegations against the 33-year-old should be punished with a fine or suspended sentence.
The taking of evidence in the trial, which has been going on since May last year, brought to light findings that had “a lot to do with attitudes, but little to do with criminal offences”, said Hock, who also called for the arrest warrant for his client to be lifted.
The representative of the federal prosecutor had demanded a prison sentence of six years and three months in June. Franco A. is “a right-wing extremist terrorist” who planned attacks on the lives of high-ranking politicians or public figures, said the prosecutor. The 33-year-old is said to have obtained a pistol for his plans and also taken ammunition and explosive devices from the Bundeswehr stocks and owned other illegal guns.
A. was arrested in February 2017 at Vienna Airport when he tried to get a loaded pistol from a hiding place in an airport toilet. It is not yet clear where the weapon came from and what he planned to do with it.
After his arrest, it also turned out that A., as an alleged Syrian refugee, had gone through the asylum procedure in 2016 and thus obtained subsidiary protection status.
Franco A. denies the allegations, but admitted to having stockpiled several weapons and ammunition in case of a collapse of public order in Germany. He has been held in pre-trial detention again since February, having been released when the trial began.