German police admit far-right network, investigation widens

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 20.12.2018 01:35
Updated 20.12.2018 08:00

The German Police Federation (GdP) has acknowledged the presence of right-wing radical elements among its officers following the suspension of five officers in Frankfurt. The move came after an investigation into five officers who formed a far-right cell that shared pictures of Hitler and swastikas, and sent death threats to a Turkish lawyer's two-year-old daughter.

"We have to assume that there are a few confused souls in our ranks," GdP Chairman Oliver Malchow said in remarks published yesterday in the Passauer Neue Presse. "I know that a considerable part of these people who have sworn an oath on our constitution have secretly become radicalized," Malchow said, calling for them to be identified and removed from the police. He declined to comment on an ongoing investigation into a right-wing network in the Frankfurt force, beyond saying that if the allegations proved true, the term "scandal" would be a mild one.

The investigation over the far-right network has also widened to other cities, as a police station in the Marburg-Biedenkopf district of the same province was put under investigation.

Frankfurt prosecutors are currently probing five officers from the city's first police district in relation to the use of a digital messenger service to disseminate insulting and xenophobic material in text and image format. The four male and one female officers in Frankfurt have been suspended from their duties during an ongoing investigation. According to German Daily Frankfurter Neue Presse, a group called "NSP 2.0" sent threatening letters containing racist statements to Seda Başay Yıldız, one of the lawyers for the victims of the neo-Nazi terrorist group, the National Socialist Underground (NSU). One of the letters sent in August even targeted the lawyer's daughter. The NSU killed eight Turkish immigrants, one Greek citizen and a German police officer between 2000 and 2007, but the murders have long remained unresolved. Recent investigations have revealed severe failures of intelligence and the failure of police units in the eastern state of Thuringia to disrupt the group. The NSU is believed to have been founded by three far-right extremists, Uwe Mundlos, Uwe Bohnhardt and Beate Zschaepe, who lived in Thuringia in the early 1990s.

German authorities are increasingly concerned over growing right-wing terrorism in the country. Lately, far-right groups have drawn up several "enemy lists" containing names and addresses of more than 25,000 people, a parliamentary inquiry revealed in July. The Interior Ministry said the lists were found in various police investigations and operations against far-right groups in the last seven years. Since 2016, Germany has conducted an increasing number of nationwide raids targeting right-wing groups, including houses, apartments and other properties believed to be owned by members of such groups, targeting the so-called "Reich citizens' movement," known as the Reichsbürgers.

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