Life Sentence Demanded for War Criminal

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The Dutch Public Prosecution demanded a lifelong sentence against the Dutch war criminal Siert Bruins (92). He is on trial in Hagen for the murder of resistance fighter Aldert Klaas Dijkema, on September 1944 in Appingedam.Bruins reported committed the murder together with his superior August Neuhäuser. Dijkema was hit by three bullets. The prosecutor can not confirm that Bruins fired the shots, but both his superior and Bruins had the intent to kill Dijkema. For that reason, Bruins is guilty, stated the prosecutor.

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The defense holds  a closing argument on January 6. The court will announce its verdict against Bruins on January 8.

Bruins, who was a member of the Waffen-SS, lived in Germany since the end of World War II, and is a German citizen. He was sentenced to death in absentia, for multiple murders, a sentence that was later changed into life imprisonment.

Bruins was sentenced to five years in prison in Germany, in 1980, for the murder of two Jews. During that process, he was not prosecuted for the murder of resistance members. The German prosecutor considered them enemy combatants then.

The German courts decided in July last year to re-open the investigation into Bruins, who is known as "The Beast of Appingedam."

During the trial the defense pointed to the poor health of the Bruins. Experts determined, however, that Bruins is physically and mentally healthy enough to be prosecuted.