German serviceman convicted of planning attacks after posing as Syrian refugee

German Army lieutenant Franco A. convicted of planning attacks against politicians – Boris Roessler/dpa Pool/dpa

A German Army lieutenant was sentenced Friday to five and a half years in prison for planning attacks against politicians in the country after posing as a Syrian refugee, Deutsche Welle reports.

The serviceman, identified by the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court handling his case as Franco A. — and as Franco Albrecht in German media — was found guilty of preparing a serious act of violence after the prosecution’s indictment also accused him of illegally harboring weapons, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition and explosives, some stolen from the German Army.

German authorities describe Franco A., 33, as a «right-wing extremist and ethno-nationalist» who had long accused German politicians of the country’s disintegration.

Franco A. was planning attacks against then Justice Minister Heiko Maas and former Bundestag Vice President Claudia Roth when he was first arrested in 2017 after attempting to retrieve a loaded gun from a toilet at Vienna airport. The weapon was discovered by a cleaning lady.

Investigation of Albrecht’s fingerprints revealed that he had led a double life as a Syrian refugee named Benjamin David.

However, the court has qualified that at the moment it cannot establish whether the serviceman posed as a refugee as an alibi for the attacks. During the trial, Franco A. claimed that he had registered as a refugee only to expose what he saw as problems with the asylum system.

Although the proceedings began in 2021 Franco A. was never under arrest until February, when he was arrested again on his way back from the French city of Strasbourg, when a police search discovered that he was in possession of a box full of Nazi memorabilia and notes describing threats to the German nation from migration and intermarriage.

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