Nazi murder trial: Life sentence urged for Siert Bruins

Siert Bruins in court on 19 December 2013
Image caption Siert Bruins denies pulling the trigger and killing Dutch resistance fighter Aldert Klaas Dijkema

German prosecutors are seeking a life sentence for 92-year-old ex-SS officer Siert Bruins, accused of murdering a Dutch resistance fighter in 1944.

Prosecutor Andreas Brendel said that although a superior ordered the killing, Mr Bruins was unlikely to have been punished had he refused to do it.

Dutch-born Mr Bruins is accused of killing Aldert Klaas Dijkema near the German-Dutch border in September 1944.

He was an SS volunteer and a member of the Nazi intelligence unit at the time.

The trial - which is taking place in the western town of Hagen - is one of the last of its kind in Germany as Mr Bruins is one of the last suspected Nazi criminals to be detained in Germany.

Another former SS officer, Heinrich Boere, began a life sentence in December 2011 for murdering three Dutch civilians during World War II.

'Shot in back'

Mr Bruins is accused of shooting Aldert Klaas Dijkema, who had been captured, four times in the back, in September 1944 in the Appingedam area east of Groningen where the two men were from.

Although he has already admitted being at the scene, the defendant said he was not the person who pulled the trigger.

When confronted by a reporter for a German TV programme, he said he had been marching beside the prisoner when the shots rang out.

He is accused over the death along with an alleged accomplice who has since died.

Mr Bruins became a German citizen in 1943 under the so-called Fuehrer's Decree, which conferred German nationality on all foreigners who worked for the Nazis.

Accordingly, after the war, Germany refused to extradite him to the Netherlands to face trial.

Separately, in 1980, he was sentenced by a German court to seven years in prison for the murder of two Jewish brothers.

The prosecutor in Dortmund said at the opening of the trial that the defendant's age should not prevent the pursuit of justice.

Closing arguments from the defence team are expected on 6 January, the Associated Press reports.

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