Three new suspects have been arrested in Germany as part of the investigation into an extremist network dismantled a few months ago and suspected of having prepared a coup, German justice said on Tuesday.
“The defendants are strongly suspected of belonging to a terrorist organization,” the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement about these new arrests.
Dismantling of an armed group
They come five months after the dismantling of an armed group organized around a judge, an aristocrat, current and former officers of the Bundeswehr, accused of having wanted to overthrow democratic institutions and attack the Bundestag.
Among the new suspects, a woman, Johanna F., is said to have taken part in the meetings to prepare the putsch and to negotiate a “new state order with the victorious powers of the Second World War”. In addition, she would have contacted a Russian consul to obtain his support, the statement said.
Financial and military support
Another alleged member, Steffen W., is believed to have played a role in the network’s armed militia and provided military training.
“He planned the takeover of a former barracks (…) and drew up lists of needs for weapons and ammunition”, details the prosecution, which indicates that it has placed him in pre-trial detention.
The third suspect would have financially supported the group with 140,000 euros in donations.
This network claims to follow the ideology of the “Reichsbürger”, “Citizens of the Reich” opposed to republican institutions, which has experienced a notable boom since the restrictions against Covid-19.
They would have planned to bring to power Prince Reuss Henry XIII, a descendant of an aristocratic German line, with the support of armed cells that they had begun to organize.
A heterogeneous movement, the Reichsbürger would gather, according to the authorities, at least 21,000 people, some of whom are ready for violence, mixing neo-Nazis, nostalgic for the German empire, conspirators, antivax and people with esoteric beliefs.
Another small group has been on trial since last week in Germany for having also planned a putsch, and the kidnapping of the Minister of Health.