Trial against ex-soldiers: Germans wanted to build a mercenary army

Two former Bundeswehr soldiers want to actively intervene in the civil war in Yemen and build up a mercenary army for this purpose.

Trial against ex-soldiers: Germans wanted to build a mercenary army

Two former Bundeswehr soldiers want to actively intervene in the civil war in Yemen and build up a mercenary army for this purpose. The federal prosecutor sees this as an attempt to set up a terrorist organization, the men would have accepted the death of innocent people.

With their own group of mercenaries, two former German soldiers are said to have tried to get involved in the civil war that has been raging in Yemen for years and to force peace negotiations in the crisis-ridden country. From the point of view of the federal prosecutor, the men had planned to build up a group of up to 250 men from former or still active soldiers within a few months.

If the plan had been successful, the two would have founded a terrorist organization, the federal prosecutor's office accused them at the start of the trial in Stuttgart before the State Security Senate of the Higher Regional Court. According to the Federal Prosecutor's Office, Arend-Adolf G. and Achim A. are said to have let themselves be pushed by the messages of a fortune teller, which they "understood as binding instructions". The two men have been in custody since October 2021.

According to the investigations conducted so far, the ex-soldiers primarily had business interests in mind with their project, with the fighters being paid up to 40,000 euros per month. The federal prosecutor said at the beginning of the trial that they had planned to successfully place their military-based and independently operating group on the market as a private military company. They accepted "that civilians would also be killed and injured in connection with hostilities." "Recruitment for foreign military service" carries a prison sentence of up to five years in Germany.

During the civil war, both men and their mercenaries wanted to force the Iran-backed Houthi rebels into peace negotiations. Last October, investigators in the Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald district and in Munich seized and arrested the men. Up to this point, however, the defendants had tried unsuccessfully to establish contact with the potential investor, the Saudi Arabian government.

Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula is one of the poorest countries in the world. It has been torn apart by armed conflict for years. Saudi Arabia has been fighting with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since 2015 on the side of the internationally recognized government against the insurgent Houthis, who are supported by Iran. In 2014, they overran large parts of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.

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