More German far-right deputies under fire over racist comments

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Germany's far-right AfD party yesterday formally warned one of its deputies over a tweet calling Boris Becker's son a "little half-negro."

Jens Maier, a former judge and one of more than 90 members of the Alternative for Germany party (AfD) elected to parliament last year had attacked Noah Becker over an interview in which he had complained about being seen as the "eternal son" of his tennis star father.

"It seems the little half-negro simply got too little attention -- that's the only explanation for his behavior," read the tweet posted on Maier's account last week. But Maier claims he did not write the tweet, which has since been deleted, saying one of his staff had posted it in an explanation which appears to have been accepted by the party's leadership. It did, however, warn him to take greater care in managing his employees.

Noah Becker has filed a criminal complaint against Maier over the tweet, which was also blasted by his father in a scathing column in Sunday's Die Welt newspaper.

"Jens Maier says such things neither out of stupidity nor fear. He knows exactly what he is doing and why," wrote Boris Becker, demanding that the MP face "consequences."

It was a second time within a week that AfD deputies had come under fire after police filed a complaint against senior party member Beatrix von Storch over a New Year's Eve tweet which they say violated laws against incitement to hate.

Von Storch had criticized Cologne police for sending a New Year's greeting in Arabic on Twitter, asking if they meant "to placate the barbaric, Muslim, gang-raping hordes of men?" Her Twitter account was blocked for several hours over a suspected breach of rules on hate speech. Police said yesterday they filed a criminal complaint to prosecutors over suspected incitement. She posted the same comment on Facebook, which then also took it down, citing "incitement to hate (paragraph 130 of the German penal code)," according to AP.

On January 1, a law against online hate speech went into effect in Germany, requiring social media companies to remove illegal inflammatory comments or face up to 50 million euros ($60 million) in fines.

The AfD capitalized on discontent against a mass influx of asylum seekers to Germany since 2015 to make the strongest showing for a far-right party in a national election in the post-war era.

Sitting in the glass-domed lower house of the German Bundestag for the first time were lawmakers of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), the anti-immigration, anti-Islam and anti-Merkel protest party that is at the heart of the crisis. Its entry into parliament in Sept. 24 elections with almost 13 percent of the vote cost Merkel's conservatives and other mainstream parties dearly, further fragmented the party political landscape and made it harder to gain a parliamentary majority.

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