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First Lieutenant Franco A, Germany far-right infiltration in military and police

German military officer named Franco A. was found guilty of planning terrorist attacks.

The officer was found guilty of being a part of a far-right terrorist plot to kill well-known people in order to bring down the democratic order.

A military officer who pretended to be a Syrian refugee was sentenced to five and a half years in prison on Friday for his part in a far-right terrorist plot to kill important public figures in Germany in order to bring down the democratic order.

The arrest of First Lieutenant Franco A., whose last name was changed to protect his privacy in accordance with German law, five years ago shocked the country and forced it to deal with the growing threat of far-right infiltration in the military and police.

Franco A. was found guilty of plotting terrorism, illegally having weapons, and lying about being a refugee when he tried to pass himself off as one. However, he has already served three months of his sentence because he has been in jail since he was arrested again earlier this year.

First Lieutenant Franco A, Germany far-right infiltration in military and police
On Friday, a security guard in a Frankfurt courtroom took Franco A.'s handcuffs off. He was found guilty of plotting terrorism, illegally having weapons, and lying about being a refugee.

In 2017, he was caught trying to get a loaded gun he had hidden in a bathroom at the Vienna airport. Later, his fingerprints showed that his second fake identity was that of a Syrian refugee, which set off alarm bells and led to an investigation that involved three countries and many intelligence agencies.

Prosecutors have accused him of planning one or more murders using his fake Syrian identity in order to make Germans more afraid of immigration and cause a national crisis.

The case is another wake-up call for a country that has spent decades making up for its Nazi past but has a history of not doing enough to stop far-right extremism and terrorism.

Franco A. always said he was innocent, but as the 13-month trial went on, new information made the case against him stronger.

A series of anti-Semitic and racist audio memos he had recorded of himself were played in court. In some of them, he fantasized about "killing" political enemies and cheered anyone who "destroyed" the state. This made it clear that he had a "hardened far-right mind-set," which is what prosecutors said was his political motivation.

Prosecutors said that Franco A. had more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, four guns, and about 50 explosives, some of which were stolen from military bases where he had been stationed. Early on in the trial, Franco A. made a mistake and said that he did have weapons.

"The possession and acquisition happened," he said, but he wouldn't say where he got the weapons, which included a G3 assault rifle, or how he got rid of them. They have not been found to this day.

Franco A. was free at the start of his trial because he had been let out of jail three and a half years before. But in February, Franco A. was taken back into custody in a dramatic scene at a subway stop. He had gone to the home of a fellow soldier and picked up a shopping bag full of Nazi items.

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