Former SS man pleads not guilty to murder
92-year-old Siert Bruins accused of killing a resistance fighter in 1944; verdict to be issued Wednesday
Siert Bruins , 92-year-old former member of the Nazi Waffen SS, sits in the courtroom in Hagen, Germany, September 2, 2013. (photo credit: AP/Frank Augstein, File)
BERLIN — The lawyer for a 92-year-old former Waffen SS member charged with killing a Dutch resistance fighter in 1944 asked a German court Monday to find his client not guilty.
Dutch-born Siert Bruins, now a German citizen, went on trial in September in the western city of Hagen. He is accused of killing resistance fighter Aldert Klaas Dijkema in September 1944 in Appingedam, near the German border in the northern Netherlands.
Bruins’s lawyer said in closing arguments Monday that his client didn’t know of plans to shoot Dijkema and that another now-deceased SS man pulled the trigger, said court spokesman Jan Schulte. The killing happened at a time when Allied forces had entered the Netherlands and were pushing back the occupying German troops.
German prosecutors and Dijkema’s sister have asked the court to hand Bruins a life sentence. Under German law, victims or their relatives can be plaintiffs in serious criminal cases.
The court will issue its verdict on Wednesday, Schulte said.