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German neo-Nazi murderer sentenced to life in prison

Reuters logo Reuters 11/07/2018
Beate Zschape posing for the camera: FILE PHOTO: Defendant Beate Zschaepe arrives for the continuation of her trial at a courtroom in Munich © REUTERS/Michael Dalder/File Photo FILE PHOTO: Defendant Beate Zschaepe arrives for the continuation of her trial at a courtroom in Munich

MUNICH, July 11 (Reuters) - A German woman was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for her part in the murders of 10 people during a seven-year campaign of violence by a neo-Nazi gang.

The Higher Regional Court in Munich ruled that Beate Zschaepe was part of the National Socialist Underground (NSU), whose members killed eight Turks, a Greek and a German policewoman.

Beate Zschape standing next to a woman: FILE PHOTO: Defendant Zschaepe and co-defendant Wohlleben arrive for continuation of thier trial at courtroom in Munich © REUTERS/Michael Dalder/File Photo FILE PHOTO: Defendant Zschaepe and co-defendant Wohlleben arrive for continuation of thier trial at courtroom in Munich

Zschaepe had denied taking part in the murders with two men, Uwe Boehnhardt and Uwe Mundlos. They killed themselves in 2011 when police discovered the gang by chance. During the trial she said through her lawyer that she felt morally guilty for not stopping them.

Beate Zschape with collar shirt: FILE PHOTO: NSU trial in Munich © REUTERS FILE PHOTO: NSU trial in Munich

The NSU attacks were the most violent of their kind in Germany since the end of the far-left Red Army Faction's two-decade killing spree in 1991, which left at least 34 dead.

Beate Zschape looking at the camera: FILE PHOTO: Defendant Zschaepe arrives for the continuation of her trial at a courtroom in Munich © REUTERS/Michael Dalder/File Photo FILE PHOTO: Defendant Zschaepe arrives for the continuation of her trial at a courtroom in Munich

Last week, Zschaepe told the court she did not know how the victims were chosen. She said she only realized the full extent of the crimes after she turned herself in.

a group of people standing in a room: FILE PHOTO: Zschaepe, a member of the neo-Nazi group National Socialist Underground (NSU) stands in the court before the start of her trial in Munich © REUTERS/Michael Dalder/File Photo FILE PHOTO: Zschaepe, a member of the neo-Nazi group National Socialist Underground (NSU) stands in the court before the start of her trial in Munich

Zschaepe's lawyers had urged the court to convict her of the lesser charges of arson and robbery. But the court convicted her of 10 counts of murder and handed out its toughest sentence.

Zschaepe, wearing a purple and white scarf and black outfit that matched her black hair, chatted calmly with her lawyer in the court room before the verdict was read out.

(Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Paul Carrel Editing by Mark Heinrich and Andrew Heavens)

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