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Germany: Neo-Nazi murder trial begins in Munich

3h ago
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1. M/S Beate Zshaepe's defence attorneys, from left Wolfgang Stahl, Anja Sturm and Wolfgang Heer 2. M/S Convoy of vehicles possibly including Beate Zschaepe arrives at the back of the Munich courthouse ahead of her trial 3. M/S Convoy of vehicles possibly including Beate Zschaepe arrives at the back of the Munich courthouse ahead of her trial 4. W/S Police officers guard the entrance of the parking garage leading into the courthouse in Munich 5. W/S Flags fly above the courthouse in Munich as Beate Zschaepe's trial begins SCRIPT Germany: Neo-Nazi murder trial begins in Munich The last surviving member of an extreme far-right cell accused of a series of racist murders arrived in Munich, Monday for the first day of her trial. Beate Zschaepe, 38, is accused of being part of the National Socialist Underground (NSU), whose members allegedly killed 10 people between 2000 and 2007. Eight of the victims were of Turkish origin; the other victims were a Greek man and a German policewoman. The NSU aimed to terrorize minorities and coerce them into leaving the country. Zschaepe faces life in prison if convicted of complicity in the murders. She is also accused of involvement in a spate of armed robberies, arson and two bomb attacks. She denies the charges. The cell was only detected when Zschaepe handed herself in to authorities in November 2011, following the discovery by police of the bodies of two men believed to be her accomplices. Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Boenhardt both committed suicide after a failed bank robbery. Their deaths led to the discovery of a gun used in the murders, as well as a video showing the victims' corpses. Outrage was caused by the fact that the NSU has been able to operate undetected for so many years. The police had wrongly accused Turkish mafia of the murders, leading some to claim authorities were complacent about the crimes of right-wing extremists. The head of Germany's domestic intelligence service was eventually forced to resign. Chancellor Angela Merkel called the scandal a "disgrace for Germany" and put forward the idea of a ban on far-right organisations such as the National Democratic Party (NPD). A number of Turkish community groups and bodies such as Antifaschtische Aktion (Antifa) protested outside the Munich courthouse ahead of Zschaepe's arrival. The trial was initially due to begin on April 17, but was moved to May 6 due to controversy surrounding media access.