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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gorbachev Blasts Trials in Germany

BERLIN -- Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev has accused Bonn of settling scores with East Germany's former communist leaders by breaking a promise not to try them for actions which were legal in East Germany.

Gorbachev made his comments in a statement in support of East Berlin's last hardline leader Egon Krenz and three other former rulers, on trial for the policy of shooting refugees as they tried to escape west across East Germany's fortified border.

"At German unification in 1989 and 1990, it was agreed with West Germany's leaders ... that disputed issues, including the legitimacy of actions which did not infringe East German law, could not be resolved through the prosecution of former political opponents," Gorbachev wrote in a two-page letter.

As Soviet leader in 1990, Gorbachev had to approve the terms in which the four World War II victor powers gave full sovereignty back to East and West Germany upon unification.