Two German conservative leaders said Saturday Moscow should hand over former East German ruler Erich Honecker, in a Soviet military base hospital near Berlin, to face trial for manslaughter.
Erwin Huber, head of Chancellor Helmut Kohl's coalition allies the Christian Social Union, told Reuters Honecker's prosecution was Germany's affair."We are a sovereign state," he said, adding that it was for German and not Soviet officials to decide whether Honecker, 78, was fit enough for custody and trial.
The domestic policy spokesman for Kohl's Christian Democrats and the Christian Social Union in parliament, Johannes Gerster, said in a newspaper interview the issue could damage warming relations between Bonn and Moscow.
The Soviet authorities must release Honecker to Berlin prosecutors "immediately and without conditions," Gerster told the daily Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung.
Berlin justice authorities issued a warrant for Honecker's arrest last Saturday on charges of manslaughter over East Germany's shoot-to-kill policy at the Berlin Wall during his rule.
But the Soviet army, which has sheltered Honecker since April at Beelitz military base south of Berlin, has not yet handed over the former state and party chief ousted by a democratic uprising in October 1989.
Honecker entered a heart clinic on the base Monday complaining of high blood pressure.