A German soldier on trial for plotting an attack on high-ranking politicians told a Frankfurt court on Tuesday how he was posing as a Syrian refugee and deceiving immigration officials, while he did not speak the Arab.
“Neither Arabic nor the details of my story were needed,” said Franco Albrecht, 32, a suspected right-wing extremist who successfully sought asylum in his own country.
In a bizarre case that has fueled concerns about right-wing extremism in Germany, Albrecht is accused of plotting “a serious act of violence endangering the state” while posing as an asylum seeker.
Although he denies planning an attack, Albrecht told court on Tuesday he was “sorry” for illegally seeking asylum.
Yet he also described to judges how easy it was to deceive overwhelmed authorities at the height of the 2015 crisis in which hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers entered Germany.
Albrecht said he developed the program during a ten-day leave period, because he “wanted to see for myself” how Germany welcomed asylum seekers.
# photo1 ″ I started researching to find a credible story, ”said the soldier, posing as a Christian fruit merchant from Damascus called“ David Benjamin ”.
“I don’t remember ever having a hard time explaining myself,” he said.
He added that “no checks had been carried out” to find out where he was after applying for asylum and that he had “full freedom of movement”.
Back at his military base in Illkirch near the French border, the lieutenant then lived a double life with his new pseudonym of refugee.
“I had a backpack with my whole refugee life,” he said.
Albrecht, who prosecutors said harbored “far-right views,” also said Chancellor Angela Merkel failed to respect the constitution by allowing refugees to enter Germany during the crisis.
According to a 2019 court document, investigations showed that he owned a copy of Adolf Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf” and believed immigration to be a form of genocide.
He was arrested in 2017 while attempting to retrieve a Nazi-era pistol he hid in a toilet at Vienna International Airport, and his fraud was discovered when his fingerprints matched two identities distinct.
# photo2 Prosecutors said he planned to use both the pistol and other weapons and explosives he had taken from the German military to carry out an attack under his false identity as a refugee.
If he is found guilty in the trial which will last until August, he could face up to 10 years in prison.
© 2021 AFP