• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Paris terror attacks
Police to apologize after wrongful Aachen arrests
Photo: DPA.

Police to apologize after wrongful Aachen arrests

DPA/The Local · 18 Nov 2015, 15:12

Published: 17 Nov 2015 13:14 GMT+01:00
Updated: 18 Nov 2015 15:12 GMT+01:00

Aachen law enforcement will apologize "shortly" and in "an appropriate" manner to the seven people they falsely arrested, a spokesperson announced on Wednesday.

As well as written apologies, officers will also explain in person why they took the measures they did, reports Tagesspiegel.

According to police, one of the men “looked very similar” to Salah Abdelsalam, a 26-year-old fugitive suspected of involvement in Friday's Isis terror attacks in Paris.

After their release on Tuesday, a spokesman for police in Aachen - a region in North Rhine-Westphalia near the borders with the Netherlands and Belgium - said the people were unconnected to the terrorist attacks in Paris.

'Good relationship' between police and Muslims

Idris Malik from the Islamic Centre in Aachen, speaking to The Local after the suspects were released, sought to allay fears that local police could have acted too hastily against the Muslim community.
 
"We have a good relationship to the police and stay in close contact with them. When they have indications of trouble they let us now so that we can take better care," he said
 
"Up until now I have heard no complaints from within the Muslim community against the police in Aachen." 
 
Malik said his major concern was that the perpetrators of the Paris attacks were caught as swiftly as possible.
 
"It is totally understandable that here on the border people are in a state of shock and that the police must take information seriously," he said.
 
The arrests could have happened through a white person innocently finding it difficult to differentiate between Middle Eastern faces, he suggested.

No 'close relationship' to Paris

Suspense was high throughout the day, as it seemed that police might be closing in on a key Isis suspect. But law enforcement were also cautioning that the whole thing could come to nothing.

When Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière stepped in front of the press at 6pm, his stumbling introductory statement seemed to give away that police had not found their man.

The minister admitted that the arrests did not have a "close connection" to Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris, justifying the move by saying that "one of the perpetrators is still on the run. The risk is still there that he's on the run in a neighbouring country."

"Today's security measures in North Rhine-Westphalia were in connection with this," he added.

But he confirmed that the person being searched for was not found during the raids in the Aachen region.

De Maizière also said that the threat level in Germany is "high" and that the interior ministry is receiving a lot of information about threats against the Bundesrepublik.

"All of these are being taken seriously and investigated," he said.

Shortly after de Maizière's statement the two women and five men were released.

Story continues below…

Arrests throughout day

Police made the first arrests Aachen on Tuesday morning at a job centre in Alsdorf, a town outside the city of Aachen..

The series of arrests on Tuesday morning in the town of Alsdorf in the region of Aachen. Two women and one man were stopped by police in their car while leaving the car park of a job centre they had reportedly been visiting.

An eyewitness reported to DPA that special forces officers wearing masks and carrying submachine guns were seen blocking off a street in Alsdorf where the first three arrested were reportedly living.

Police said the trio were foreign and Der Spiegel reported that an employee of a discount store had tipped the off, saying she recognized suspect Abdesalam as being in the group.

Police decided to proceed with the investigation even though Abdesalam was not found among them because they wanted to make sure the suspected terrorist did not get away, Spiegel reported. In the afternoon they confirmed four more people had been arrested.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
'We'll freeze Turkey talks' warns EU as arrests continue
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched a radical purge against anyone suspected of complicity in the coup attempt. Photo: DPA

As Turkish authorities on Friday widened their sweeping post-coup crackdown to the business sector, the European Union's enlargement commissioner implicitly warned that the bloc would freeze Turkey's accession talks if the crackdown violated the rule of law.

I’m ashamed of Germany’s refugee failure: Green leader
Cem Özdemir. Photo: DPA

The head of the Green Party has responded angrily to Angela Merkel’s speech on refugees on Friday, saying he feels “ashamed at Germany’s failure".

German satirists mock Erdogan (and his penis)
Photo: DPA

Tempting fate?

Huge pro-Erdogan rally puts strain on Turkish community
Erdogan supporters at a rally in 2014. Photo: DPA

Tens of thousands of supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plan to rally in Cologne on Sunday, as tensions over Turkey's failed coup have put German authorities on edge.

Opinion
How the Berlin startup scene is wasting its potential
Photo: DPA

"The truth is, there really isn't a truly successful international Berlin startup."

Five years' jail for German darknet weapons dealer
Photo: DPA

He had sold weapons to known Isis-sympathizers and far-right extremists.

Prickly Bavarian calls out cops on hedgehogs' noisy sex
Photo: DPA

Caught in the act.

International or German state school - which one's best?
Photo: DPA

Deciding between sending your child to a German state school or a private international school isn't easy. Max Bringmann has experienced both.

13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make

Sure-fire ways to get off on the wrong foot in the German language.

Captain Schweinsteiger retires from international football
Bastian Schweinsteiger. Photo: DPA

He has won a World Cup with Die Mannschaft and captained them at Euro 2016. On Friday Bastian Schweinsteiger announced his retirement from the national team.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
DPA
Gallery
IN PICTURES: How Munich responded to shooting spree
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
10,718
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd