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German far-right ‘terrorists’ jailed for series of attacks on refugees

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Eight members of a German far-right group were sentenced to jail Wednesday on terrorism and attempted murder charges for a series of explosives attacks targeting refugees and anti-fascist activists.

Based in Germany’s ex-communist east, the so-called “Freital group” had sought to create “a climate of fear” at the height of Germany’s refugee and migrant influx in 2015, the court was told.

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Its leaders Timo Schulz and Patrick Festing were sentenced to 10 and nine-and-a-half years prison respectively. The other six received custodial terms of between four and eight-and-a-half years.

The seven men and one woman, now aged between 20 and 40, modified pyrotechnics they had bought in the neighbouring Czech Republic for five explosives attacks.

One Syrian refugee was injured in a blast, and prosecutors argued that the group had casually accepted the risk of more victims and possible deaths in their attacks.

The Freital group is named after the members’ hometown, which drew notoriety beyond German borders in 2015 when enraged protesters there railed against “criminal foreigners” and “asylum-seeking pigs”.

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Nearby Dresden, capital of the eastern state of Saxony, was the birthplace of the anti-Islamic street movement Pegida, which has ties with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) that has since entered Germany’s parliament.

– Racist ideology –

The trial was held under tight security in a temporary courtroom complex with on-site holding cells located in a former refugee accommodation centre on the outskirts of Dresden.

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The eight accused were found guilty of five attacks with explosives between July and November 2015 — two on Freital refugee homes, two on an office and a car of far-left Die Linke politicians, and one on a Dresden communal residential complex.

A Syrian refugee suffered “multiple cuts” to the face when three explosive devices were hurled through the windows of a refugee housing centre on the night of October 31.

On the final day of hearings in February, Festing, a pizza delivery and warehouse worker, had apologised to the victims without however clearly distancing himself from far-right and racist ideology, reported regional newspaper Saechsische Zeitung.

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“I am sorry,” he said. “I can’t explain why I did it.”

Schulz, a bus driver, was previously handed a one-year suspended jail sentence for a baseball bat attack on the car of pro-refugee activists.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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If Trump were the raving mad King of Liechtenstein all of this would be comical

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

This week, a former White House official told Politico that “Trump’s been asking his government for some matter of months what can we do to make sure that China doesn’t get Greenland.”

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Donald Trump and the Jews: He’s exactly why most of us vote for Democrats

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If President Trump doesn't understand why a large majority of American Jews are Democrats, maybe he should take a look in the mirror.

In case you need a quick refresher, Trump sparked an enormous furor on Tuesday when he said, "I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty." He added that "five years ago, the concept of even talking about this . . . of cutting off aid to Israel because of two people that hate Israel and hate Jewish people — I can't believe we're even having this conversation. Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they're defending these two people over the State of Israel?"

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Still-free Epstein friend Ghislaine Maxwell likely cooperating with prosecutors: Vanity Fair columnist

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High-powered wealth manager Jeffrey Epstein may have committed suicide — but the case looking into his alleged involvement in trafficking and raping teenage girls is far from over. One particular loose end is Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite who was close friends with Epstein — and who is accused of helping to groom Epstein's victims, and who has seemingly disappeared.

As Vanity Fair contributor William Cohen told MSNBC's Alex Witt, Maxwell is likely not really on the lam at all — she may be helping prosecutors in secret, to lull Epstein's other co-conspirators into a false sense of security.

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