Surviving member of German neo-Nazi murder cell jailed for life

Munich (Germany) (AFP) –


The only surviving member of a German neo-Nazi cell behind a string of racist murders was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison, capping a mammoth trial that began in May 2013.

Beate Zschaepe, 43, was found guilty of 10 counts of murder in deadly shootings of nine Turkish and Greek-born immigrants as well as a German policewoman carried out by a trio known as the National Socialist Underground (NSU).

Although life imprisonment in Germany typically means 15 years behind bars as prisoners are often released for good conduct, Zschaepe would not be eligible for parole as judge Manfred Goetzl imposed the maximum sentence due to the "exceptional severity of the crime".

Police say the NSU's two male members -- Zschaepe's former lovers Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Boehnhardt -- carried out their killing spree from 2000 to 2007, before they died in an apparent suicide pact following a bungled bank heist in 2011.

Meanwhile Ralf Wohlleben, a former member of the far-right NPD party and accused of having provided help to the NSU, was found guilty of complicity in nine counts of murder. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Unrepentent neo-Nazi Andre Eminger was however found not guilty of complicity but sentenced to two and a half years for backing a terrorist organisation, a verdict that was greeted with applause by supporters in the courtroom.