German authorities have launched an investigation in 14 states in response to a growing number of hate crimes among far-right extremist groups and "Reichsbürger" terrorists on social media, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) stated yesterday.
German police carried out raids on apartments and other properties believed to belong to right-wing extremists. A member of Reichsbürger and two politically motivated perpetrators are under investigation.
"The determination of the authorities is an important indicator of the urgency of this issue. Anyone who distributes criminal content on the internet will be prosecuted and brought to justice," Federal Minister of Justice Heiko Maas of the SPD said in a statement.
The extremist group known as "Reichsbürger" is considered a terrorist organization in Germany where its members procure arms and ammunition. Members of the movement do not recognize the modern German state or its laws, rather believing that the former German Reich still exists. Members of the Reichsbürger group refuse to acknowledge the constitutional German state and they refuse to pay any taxes or fines to the German state. They continue to follow the laws of the third Reich and believe in the German borders of the 1930s.
Focusing on the smallest EU member state, Reichsbürger manipulated legal loopholes to conduct operations from Malta. Therefore, they send out official court orders - notarized under Maltese law - to German judges who urged them to follow the legal demands of the German state, which compel them to fulfill their tax obligations as German citizens. Malta agreed with Germany regarding the extradition of a so-called Reichsbürger member last December. Since 2014, Reichsbürger members have been using the "Malta-Method" - a special trick they use to evade tax penalties in Germany. Rather than paying their fines, they have filed responses with German judicial authorities with counterclaims of up to 50,000 euros.
According to internal sources, psychological terror is regarded as the first step toward success according to Reichsbürger ideology. German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported last month that the number of internal disciplinary matters affecting German police forces in the scope of the Reich Citizens' Movement has increased significantly in recent months.
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