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Germany: Berlin Wall Guards Convicted For Shooting

Berlin, 5 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - A Berlin court convicted two former East German border guards of manslaughter today for the 1962 shooting of a teenager left to bleed to death at the Berlin Wall.

Judge Hans-Juergen Schaal said the two-day trial had not been able to fully determine which guard had fired the fatal shot. But, he said both guards were still guilty of manslaughter. They were given suspended sentences following a pattern established in previous Wall shooting trials.

Peter Fechter had called in vain for help for about 50 minutes, as he slowly bled to death. The horrifying accounts of his death and dramatic pictures of East German police carrying his limp body away from the Wall were published around the world. The accounts and pictures prompted widespread condemnation of the Wall and the East German regime.