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Germany Makes Its Strongest Bid for Honecker’s Return

<i> Associated Press</i>

In its strongest demand yet for the return of Erick Honecker, Germany charged Wednesday that the Soviet Union violated a key treaty by helping the ousted East German leader escape trial.

Honecker was whisked away to the Soviet Union from a Red Army hospital near Berlin on March 13.

Officials of the Russian Federation have said that Honecker will likely be sent back in the wake of the failed coup by Communist hard-liners in Moscow, but no official decision has been announced.

Honecker ruled former East Germany with an iron fist for 18 years until his ouster in 1989. He faces manslaughter charges for allegedly ordering border guards to kill anyone trying to escape to the West. About 200 East Germans died trying to flee.

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Even if the 79-year-old Honecker is returned, prosecutors say he could be deemed unfit for trial because of ill health.


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