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Published: Thursday July 17, 2014 MYT 3:05:03 AM
Updated: Thursday July 17, 2014 MYT 3:06:09 AM

Defendant in German neo-Nazi murder trial wants to fire lawyers

MUNICH (Reuters) - A suspected neo-Nazi charged with complicity in a series of racist murders that scandalised Germany wants to fire her lawyers in a move that could delay her trial which has already dragged on for more than a year.

Beate Zschaepe, 39, told the Munich court on Wednesday she no longer had confidence in her three lawyers, her spokeswoman said.

Zschaepe is accused of helping found a neo-Nazi cell, the National Socialist Underground (NSU), and of complicity in the murders of 10 people, mostly ethnic Turks, from 2000 to 2007.

The murders went undetected for more than a decade and came to light only by chance in late 2011, shocking Germans and triggering criticism of the country's intelligence service.

The judge said Zschaepe needed to give reasons for her loss of confidence in the lawyers by Thursday morning, a court official said.

Defendants were usually only allowed to drop their lawyers in extraordinary cases, and had to show that confidence had been completely shattered, court spokeswoman Andrea Titz said.

The trial was adjourned until Tuesday. Such hearings can only be held up for a maximum of 30 days under Germany's code of criminal procedure.

(Reporting by Joern Poltz; Writing by Michelle Martin)

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