Germany records highest level of right-wing extremist crime in 20 years – POLITICO

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BERLIN — The quantity of right-wing extremist crimes dedicated in Germany elevated sharply in 2020 to a two-decade excessive, the inside ministry stated on Tuesday.

Such crimes “accounted for 23,064 prison offenses [in 2020]. That’s greater than half … of all politically motivated crimes,” Inside Minister Horst Seehofer stated whereas presenting the most recent crime statistics at a press conference in Berlin.

“That’s the highest level since records started in 2001,” Seehofer added, noting a “notably critical” improve of 18.8 p.c in violent hate crimes — together with 11 murders and 13 tried murders — to a complete of 3,365 offenses.

The press convention got here hours after authorities in Germany revealed they’d detained an individual believed to be behind a sequence of threatening letters despatched to people lively inside the media and politics. The letters had been signed “NSU 2.0” in reference to the Nationwide Socialist Underground, a infamous Nazi terrorist group that killed at the very least 10 folks in the 2000s.

Seehofer on Tuesday additionally referred to the religiously motivated murder of a homosexual man in Dresden, a racist terrorist assault in Hanau that left 11 folks useless in February final 12 months and the 2019 assassination of Walter Lübcke, a politician who had voiced help for refugees.

“After the homicide of Walter Lübcke and the assault on the synagogue in Halle, Hanau was the third right-wing terrorist assault in only a few months,” the minister stated, including that it confirmed “right-wing extremism is the best menace to safety in our nation.”

Seehofer highlighted a rise of 15.7 p.c in anti-Semitic crimes, which he stated was “not solely worrying but additionally deeply shameful towards the background of our historical past.”

The opposition far-right occasion Different for Germany has lengthy argued that the primary supply of anti-Semitism in Germany is communities of immigrants from majority Arab nations, however Seehofer dismissed such a place as not supported by the information.

“Nearly all of the anti-Semitic crimes had been motivated by right-wing extremism. That is generally disputed, however it’s clear,” he stated.

In response to the statistics, Josef Schuster, chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said: “The newest figures on violent acts and different crimes by extremists, in addition to on anti-Semitic crimes, are completely alarming and an indictment of Germany.”

“Though Germany was much less exhausting hit by the pandemic and responded with much less extreme restrictions than different European nations, the pandemic seems to have led to a brand new type of extremism,” Schuster added, referring to a worrying new alliance between extremists and lockdown critics in the nation.

Seehofer additionally acknowledged that shut ties between pandemic deniers and right-wing extremists had been one other drawback unveiled by the most recent crime statistics.

“It’s problematic for the safety authorities that new coalitions are forming between unusual protesters and adherents of conspiracy ideologies, anti-vaxxers … and extremists,” he stated, including that round 3,500 crimes had been attributed to such teams in 2020, amongst them 500 violent acts.

Seehofer additionally denounced 260 reported crimes towards journalists, 112 of them dedicated in the context of anti-lockdown demonstrations and virtually half of them involving violence.

“I condemn these acts in the strongest doable phrases,” he stated.

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