Germany charges sixth suspect in plot to kidnap health minister, topple govt

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
3 min read

German prosecutors said Wednesday they had charged a sixth suspect in a far-right plot to kidnap the health minister and overthrow the government in protest against COVID-19 restrictions.

The 61-year-old man was charged with “the preparation of a treasonous enterprise and membership in a terrorist organization,” Frankfurt prosecutors said in a statement.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

The group intended to strike several parts of the energy grid to provoke a “nationwide power outage lasting several weeks” that would provide cover for a coup attempt, investigators said.

The alleged plotters planned to abduct Health Minister Karl Lauterbach “at gunpoint,” potentially killing his bodyguards in the process.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the fiercest opponents of the government’s anti-virus measures were far-right activists who reject Germany’s democratic institutions.

Lauterbach had become a hate figure for the group because of the pandemic restrictions including the requirement to wear facemasks in public places that he had ordered.

“The kidnapping of a high-ranking federal government official was intended to demonstrate the group’s determination and capabilities,” prosecutors said.

The latest suspect was said to have “participated in meetings of the group and worked on the concretization of the plans.”

The man allegedly declared himself ready to participate in the kidnapping of Lauterbach, prosecutors said.

He also offered his garage in the region south of Frankfurt to a group ringleaders as a weapons store, investigators said.

The senior plotter was arrested in April 2022 and the arms -- two AK-47 assault rifles and four Glock pistols -- were never deposited.

The new suspect also offered to “sail” to Russia after the planned coup “as a member of a delegation to negotiate an ‘alliance’ with Russian state authorities and to procure military equipment,” prosecutors said.
Five other members of the group went on trial in Koblenz in May 2023.

The group intended to replace the government with an authoritarian system “modeled on the constitution of the German Empire of 1871,” according to investigators.

The belief that the German government is illegitimate is current among members of the far-right Reichsbuerger (Citizens of the Reich) movement, which has attracted a growing number of followers.

The organizers of another alleged far-right plot to topple the government were arrested in raids at the end of 2022.

The trial of the suspected ringleader, the aristocrat and businessman Prince Heinrich XIII Reuss, will open in Frankfurt in May.

Read more:

Police foil plot to kidnap Germany’s health minister, destroy power facilities

German health minister says would-be kidnappers aimed to destabilize state

Germany arrests members of far-right group suspected of planning to overthrow state

Top Content Trending