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Neo-Nazis Deny Intent to Kill Man

August 23, 2000

HALLE, Germany (AP) _ One of three neo-Nazis on trial for fatally beating a black man in eastern Germany said he was sorry on Wednesday and offered to send money to the victim’s family, drawing a bitter rebuff from the man’s widow.

The three men admit attacking Alberto Adriano, a 39-year-old father of three from Mozambique, but have testified they did not intend to kill him, a court spokesman.

The June 11 attack is among the worst in a resurgence of extreme-right hate crimes in Germany that has claimed at least three lives in the formerly communist east this year.

Federal prosecutors in the trial of Frank Miethbauer and Christian Richter, both 16, and Enrico Hilprecht, 24, said, however, that the drunken attackers were motivated by hatred of foreigners and ``were aware that Adriano could die″ but didn’t care, justifying murder charges.

Adriano was beaten, kicked and left to die in a park in the eastern city of Dessau, with Hilprecht kicking his head about 10 times with jackboots, according to the indictment.

Facing Adriano’s widow across the courtroom, Hilprecht was the first defendant to suggest any emotion.

``He made a two-sentence statement saying he was sorry and hoped to work in prison so he could send money to Mrs. Adriano,″ attorney Ronald Reimann said.

Angelika Adriano, who had testified despite voicing fear that she would face retaliation from rightist extremists, told reporters outside the courtroom she was disgusted.

``I won’t accept any money from my husband’s murderers,″ she said.

Visibly distressed by what she described as the defendants’ coldness, she said she would no longer attend the trial until the verdict, expected next week. The trial is closed to the public because two of the accused are juveniles.

The defendants _ one wearing a Hitler-style mustache _ showed no remorse as the trial began Tuesday. Richter grinned while the indictment recounting the attack was read out in open court.

``I tried to look into their eyes and there was nothing there,″ she said. ``There was no flicker of emotion, no sympathy, nothing at all.″

She said people had telephoned her overnight and hung up, caller she believed were from ``the extreme-right scene.″

Prosecutors say that when Adriano stopped moving after five minutes of blows to the head and kicking, the attackers took off his clothes to humiliate him further and assaulted him again.

Witnesses of the early-morning attack testified they heard the assailants shout ``Negro pig″ and other abusive comments, court spokesman Guenther Zettel said.

Adriano, who came to East Germany from socialist Mozambique in the 1980s and stayed after unification, died three days after the attack.

German commentators Wednesday urged the Saxony-Anhalt state court to hand down tough sentences. Some politicians said German courts too often treat neo-Nazi crime as routine.

``Many judges have not yet realized the extent and the structures of right-wing extremism,″ said Cem Ozdemir, a member of parliament from the Greens party whose parents came to Germany from Turkey in the 1960s.

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