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CRIME

Interior Ministry raids neo-Nazi group locations nationwide

The Interior Ministry staged raids on outposts of a right-wing extremist group in several German states on Tuesday morning, searching buildings and confiscating evidence.

Interior Ministry raids neo-Nazi group locations nationwide
Photo: DPA

Beginning at 6 am, authorities stormed offices of the Hilfsorganisation für nationale politische Gefangene und deren Angehörige, or HNG, one of Germany’s largest far-right groups, the ministry said.

The group’s goal is working with imprisoned right-wing extremists to strengthen their views and motivate further criminal activity, the ministry suspects.

These prisoners are meant to be groomed for further “battle against the system,” it said.

“Today’s searches will show whether our suspicions are confirmed and the HNG is positioned against constitutional order in an aggressively violent manner,” Interior Ministry secretary Klaus-Dieter Fritsche said in Berlin.

“Our findings bring us nearer to the suspicion that the HNG’s main goal is to network and strengthen the mainly fragmented neo-Nazi scene beyond trench warfare,” he added.

The HNG was founded in 1979 and has an estimated 600 members, making it the largest such group in Germany.

Offices in the states of Rhineland-Palatinate, Baden- Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Berlin and Lower Saxony were included in the raids.

DAPD/ka

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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