The special prosecutors’ office that investigates Nazi war crimes said Tuesday it is recommending charges against dozens of alleged former Auschwitz guards, opening the possibility of a new wave of trials almost 70 years after the end of World War II.
Kurt Schrimm, the head of the Ludwigsburg federal prosecutors’ office, said an investigation of about 50 alleged former guards turned up enough evidence to recommend that state prosecutors pursue charges of accessory to murder against 30 of them in Germany. Another seven suspects who live outside the country are still being investigated.
The cases are being sent to the responsible state prosecutors’ offices in 11 of Germany’s 16 states. It will be up to them to determine whether the elderly suspects - primarily men but also some women - are fit to stand trial and whether to bring official charges.
“The biggest enemy is time,” Schrimm told reporters.
Bulgarian authorities are on the trail of two men they believe to be linked to a deadly bombing attack that targeted a bus carrying Israeli tourists in the eastern Bulgarian city of Burgas this time last year.
The Bulgarian Ministry of Interior today released images of men they identified as Meliad Farah, an Australian national also known as Hussein Hussein, and Hassan el Hajj Hassan, a Canadian national. A statement accompanying the pictures from the ministry said the men are “suspected of having [a] link with the bombing” and said the pair was believed to be traveling in Bulgaria under false names like Brian Jeremiah Jameson, Jacque Felipe Martin and Ralph William Rico.
Five Israelis and one Bulgarian were killed when a suicide bomber detonated explosives aboard a bus in Burgas, a tourist hub on the Black Sea, on July 18, 2012. Top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, immediately suspected Iran of directing the attack through the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. In February, Bulgaria’s then-interior minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, said authorities found it was a “reasonable assumption” that two suspects they had identified in connection with the bombing - an Australian and a Canadian — were members of Hezbollah. Today’s statement made no mention of the Hezbollah connection.
The emerging details of the attack, which has been blamed on the militant Shia group Hezbollah, and other recent developments, have led experts to say it is evidence the Iranian-backed group has been increasing global operations, using operatives with dual citizenship who can travel with Western passports to target Israelis around the world.
Canada and the United States consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization. After a long debate, the European Union agreed Monday to put the armed wing of Hezbollah on its terrorism blacklist.
“I think the Bulgarians did not want to release this information prior to the EU decision on banning the military wing [of Hezbollah] because they did not want to be seen as trying to overly influence that decision,” said Matthew Levitt, a former U.S. Treasury Department official who is a director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
The suspects were seen in the three weeks before the July 18, 2012, attack, in towns around Burgas, Bulgarian officials allege, adding that the men rented cars and checked into hotels using the fake names Brian Jeremiah Jameson, Jacque Felipe Martin and Ralph William Rico.
Police on Wednesday claimed a major breakthrough in their investigation of a spectacular $50 million diamond heist, detaining 31 people in a three-nation sweep some three months after robbers pulled off the theft with clockwork precision at Brussels Airport
A Frenchman who is believed to have been one of the actual robbers was detained in France, while six people were detained in Switzerland and 24 in Belgium.
What’s more, police say they have proof that diamonds found in Switzerland were part of the cache that was spirited away in the brazen Feb. 18 robbery that ranks among the biggest diamond heists of recent times.
Suspects in France and Switzerland were detained on Tuesday, and the following day Belgian police carried out a massive early-morning operation, with 250 police involved in 40 house searches.
As friends and family attended a private funeral for a Texas prosecutor and his wife who were gunned down in their Kaufman County home, investigators on Friday announced the arrest of a man accused of threatening the safety of a deputy district attorney.
The news came after word that police were searching for a person who called in a bomb threat during the visitation Thursday night for Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, at a church in Wortham.The call was made about 6:30 p.m. after the bodies were returned to the church from a public memorial service in Sunnyvale.
The news of the arrest and the bomb threat come as federal, state and local authorities search for suspects in the unsolved killings of the county’s district attorney and his chief felony prosecutor, who was killed almost two months earlier.
The McLellands’ bodies were discovered on March 30 at their home, almost exactly two months after McLelland’s chief felony prosecutor, Mark Hasse, was killed in a daytime shooting outside the county courthouse.
Authorities have been working to determine whether the killings of McLelland and Hasse are connected, scouring their cas
Police on Thursday warned residents in Monterey Park to beware of individuals posing as “Psychic Healers” due to several victims reporting thefts of large amounts of money and jewelry.
The suspects are targeting elderly female Chinese residents, according to Monterey Park Police. Victims have been approached at bus stops and shopping areas throughout the city.
A victim on Jan. 15 reported that she was approached by three female suspects in the area of Atlantic Blvd. and Garvey Ave. in Monterey Park. The suspects told the victim that she had bad luck, illness, and evil spirits and they knew a psychic healer who could help her.
The suspects advised her to go home and return with rice, jewelry, and money in a black plastic bag and they would pray, “bless” it, and return it to her, claiming the “blessed” property would absolve her of her bad luck.
Police say two robbers held up two men and shot and killed one of them in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia early Thursday morning.
The incident happened just before 1:00 a.m. on the 2000 block of Castor Avenue.
According to Officials, the two victims, both 24-years-old, were told by the suspects to “give it up” but they only handed over a pack of cigarettes.
The suspects became angry and then opened fire causing the two men to run into a house where one of them lived.
The gunman kept firing, spraying the front of the house with bullets.
One of the victims was shot in the chest and pronounced dead at the hospital. The other victim was shot in the leg and is listed in stable condition.
The four suspects, all from Ventura, each have been booked on felony assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy, and violation of civil rights by force or fear, Harris said.
Braschler was released on $20,000 bail, Harris said. Darrough, Smets and Martin remained jailed late Thursday on $20,000, $40,000, and $45,000 respectively.
The men are scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Friday. Braschler’s court date is scheduled for Dec. 19.
An investigation into the attacks led detectives to known white supremacist and convicted felon, Ryan Vanausdell, 37, of Oak View.
“One of the suspects was a frequest visitor, a friend, and stayed at Vanausdell’s house,” Harris said. “During the investigation is when Vanausdell’s name came up.”
That tip sparked an investigation that led detectives to Vanausdell’s Oak View home, where a search warrant turned up two assault weapons, two rifles, two shotguns, one handgun, and high-capacity ammunition magazines, Harris said.
Detectives initially thought Vanausdell may have some knowledge about the attacks, but it was determined that he was not involved, Harris said.
Still, Vanausdell (pictured at right) was arrested on suspicion of felony possession of firearms by a felon and possession of bullets containing an explosive agent, Harris said. Vanausdell is out on $100,000 bail.
Two men accused of plotting to attack New York City synagogues may find out Tuesday if a grand jury has indicted them.
Ahmed Ferhani, 26, and Mohamed Mamdouh, 20, are scheduled for a procedural appearance in Manhattan court during which prosecutors indicate whether there is an indictment but typically do not disclose charges.
The pair was charged last week under a rarely used state law with conspiracy as a crime of terrorism