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Europe: Krenz Appeals Berlin Wall Conviction

Berlin, 26 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - Former East German leader Egon Krenz lodged an appeal today against his manslaughter conviction for the deaths of four refugees killed as they tried to flee over the Berlin Wall.

A Berlin court yesterday sentenced Krenz to six and one-half years in prison for the killings. He was immediately led away to begin his sentence in Moabit prison because judges feared he would flee.

The court found that even though Krenz had not pulled a trigger, he carried political responsibility because he shaped the shoot-to-kill orders carried out by border guards.

Krenz's lawyers are seeking to have their client released pending the appeals hearing, expected in about six months.

Krenz insisted at his trial that the East German government had merely been following orders from Moscow. He succeeded Erich Honecker as head of the German Democratic Republic for six weeks in late 1989. Krenz has vowed to fight the ruling in the European Court of Justice.