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East Germany's last Communist leader has appealed to the highest German court to overturn his manslaughter conviction in the shooting deaths of people trying to flee to the West, his attorney said Thursday.

The appeal by Egon Krenz repeated his longtime argument that his conviction and 6 1/2 -year prison sentence are illegal because he was living under East German laws at the time he served in the Communist leadership.

Krenz, 62, had been due to report to a Berlin prison two weeks ago, but the sentence was delayed after he made a preliminary appeal to the Federal Constitutional Court.

In that same court, he has now formally challenged his conviction for being a member of the Politburo that ordered the shoot-to-kill policy at the Berlin Wall and other crossings to the West, attorney Robert Unger said.

If the constitutional court agrees to hear Krenz's case, a ruling could take months.

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