The number of German police officers temporarily suspended from duty has risen to seven after two more were suspended this week. Hesse Interior Minister Peter Beuth confirmed that two police officers had been suspended following a meeting of the state's interior committee.
Beuth, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats, said that there is no evidence of an extremist right-wing network within the German police force. His denial came after local media reported that the German police trade union (GdP) had acknowledged the presence of right-wing radical elements among its officers, saying that there were "confused souls" in police ranks.
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 were suspended from their duties during an ongoing investigation in October. The investigation of 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.
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.