BERLIN (Reuters) - Five people arrested last year on suspicion of being members of a far-right group plotting to overthrow the government and spark civil war have been charged with high treason, prosecutors said Monday.

The German "Deutsche Welle" television website stated that these five are linked to the "Reichsburger" movement, which was revealed by the German authorities late last year and arrested many of its members during a security campaign that included 11 states and resulted in the arrest of 25 people.

The Public Prosecutor's Office said - in a statement - that the five people planned to kidnap Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, and were ready to implement their plan, although they acknowledged that this would result in casualties.

He added that the "terrorist group", which was formed in mid-January of last year, was seeking to create conditions similar to the civil war in Germany through violence in order to overthrow the government and parliamentary democracy, and establish an authoritarian regime similar to the German (Caesarian) empire.

He added that they are expected to be tried before the Higher Regional Court in the city of Koblenz in Rhineland-Palatinate (western Germany), without specifying a date for that.

The charges against them also include founding or belonging to a domestic terrorist group, financing terrorism, and preparing serious acts of violence that pose a threat to the state.

government overthrow plan

According to the German Public Prosecution, these defendants formed a military wing and an administrative wing in order to implement the scheme to overthrow the government.

4 of them - all men - were arrested last April, and a woman was arrested last October.

The scheme includes - according to the claim - cutting off electricity throughout the country, kidnapping the Minister of Health and killing his guards if necessary, then forming a council to replace a government and appointing a new leader.

Members of the "Reichscitizens" do not recognize the modern German state that was established after the collapse of Nazism, nor its laws, and refuse to pay taxes and social allowances, and insist that the "German Empire" still exists.

The movement includes individuals on the far right, including neo-Nazis, ex-military members, conspiracy theorists and gun advocates who reject the legitimacy of the modern German Republic.

In a report published in a report published last June, German intelligence stated that the number of members of this movement was estimated at about 21,000, and about 1,150 members were counted who belong to extreme right-wing groups, and one thousand members of the movement have licenses to possess weapons.