Gorbachev says Honecker guilty

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The Independent Online
Moscow (Reuter) - Mikhail Gorbachev says Erich Honecker must bear responsibility for what went on under his rule as East German Communist leader. Mr Honecker is facing manslaughter charges in Germany over the killing of East Germans trying to flee to the West during his 1971- 89 rule. His lawyers have said they might call Mr Gorbachev to testify at the trial.

Asked by the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda whether Mr Honecker had been free to act as he chose before Mr Gorbachev came to power in 1985, the former Soviet leader said: 'It is difficult for me to judge but I think we cannot say he was. The proof was Budapest, Prague, Berlin, Warsaw.'

'So he is not guilty of much up to 1985?' the newspaper asked. 'He is guilty,' Mr Gorbachev replied. 'Because if you are head of state then either you should have the courage to stand up against what you believe is unacceptable, or you should resign.'