German police raids reveal growing right-wing extremism in Hesse

Published 19.01.2019 00:00

The apartments of two police officers have been searched as part of local investigations in the German city of Hesse regarding right-wing extremism.

The searches were directed against a 44-year-old and a 35-year-old who lived in the Vogelsbergkreis district according to the Frankfurt am Main public prosecutor. The Hessian police have been investigating suspect cases of right-wing extremism for weeks, looking specifically for any signs of illegal, anti-government activities.

The Hesse Interior Minister, Peter Beuth of the Christian Social Union [CDU], assured the local Interior Committee of the State Parliament that any suspicions regarding the matter would be thoroughly investigated. Any breaches of the law will be punished "with the upmost severity. The population's confidence in our police officers is high and it must remain so through determination and consistency," said Beuth. Opposition party members sharply criticized Beuth's words after the meeting. The speaker of the local Social Democratic party [SPD], Nancy Faeser, accused Beuth of a "continuation of the catastrophic policy regarding distribution of information of the past five years." Domestic political spokesman of the SPD, Hermann Schaus, stated that Beuth was "obviously neither willing nor able to change the information culture of this ministry."

Beuth defended the CDU-Greens coalition government. Holger Bellino, the parliamentary leader of the CDU faction in the region, said: "We do not tolerate extremism of racism in Hesse or in indeed within its police force."

On the other hand, Green Party politician Jürgen Frömmrich was "confident that the state government and the prosecutor's office would inform the committees of parliament regarding all the incidents and the progress of regarding the investigations thereof." There are various active investigations ongoing in Hesse. One of them regarding the chat logs between six police officers who apparently exchanged "right-wing" chat messages. Another case regards a Frankfurt lawyer, Seda Başay Yıldız, being sent a threatening letter signed "NSU 2.0," or National Socialist Union 2.0. This particular lawyer had represented the family of an NSU murder victim in court as a sideline representative.

Another investigation concerns the two aforementioned police officers residing in the Vogelsbergkreis district. Apparently neither of them nor their case have any links to the other investigations, according to the Frankfurt Public Prosecutor's office. Authorities revealed that the 44-year-old had already been looked-into in December, where weapons of an unconfirmed nature were discovered. In addition, the investigators discovered in his house a "museum-stule room with various National Socialist-related items," including flags, badges and SS uniforms.

The Public Prosecutor of Gießen initiated a case against the 44-year-old officer regarding the illegal possession of weaponry as well as the use and possession of symbols of unconstitutional organizations. The case was taken over by the Frankfurt prosecutor before the end of 2018, and last Thursday his home was raided again.

The Frankfurt public prosecutor also revealed that the 35-year-old had exchanged "seditious" messages with his 44-year-old colleague via telephone. Last Thursday's searches involved around 50 officials of the Hessian State Criminal Police Office as well as other police departments.

The investigations into the right-wing extremism are being looked into by the state criminal investigations office.

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