Chancellor’s stalker sees himself as a peace activist

The man detained by German authorities for stalking Chancellor Angela Merkel sees himself as a peace activist and was trying to share his plan for peace in the Middle East, he said in an interview on Wednesday.

Chancellor's stalker sees himself as a peace activist
A photo of Merkel's weekend home. Photo: DPA

Daily Berliner Zeitung identified the alleged stalker as Christian J., reporting that he worked as a librarian and freelance journalist in Stralsund.

The man, who authorities detained for psychological treatment after he breached Merkel’s weekend home security two weekends in a row, told the paper that police guarding the house had not noticed him enter the property.

“When no-one opened the door in answer to my ring, I went into the garden, where I met the Chancellor, who was on the telephone,” the man told the paper. “I only gave her a letter and then left.”

Police at Merkel’s Uckermark region home in the state of Brandenburg reportedly observed the man leaving the premises, but did not detain him.

But when Merkel did not personally answer his letter, the man became upset and paid her home a second visit – when only her husband was home.

Christian J. told the paper that he did not see himself as a stalker, but as a peace activist, explaining that the letter he gave her was a peace plan for the Middle East.

On Tuesday, a government spokesperson told The Local that the authorities had detained a man for trespassing on the grounds of Merkel’s weekend home.

“Naturally security has its limits,” the spokesperson said. “It isn’t the case that the Chancellor is hermetically shielded from the public around the clock – she wants to lead a normal life. It’s always a balance.”

The man was already known to authorities, having been turned away from the Chancellor’s central Berlin apartment several weekends ago.

He was taken into custody last weekend, the spokesman said, adding that he was in psychological treatment.


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Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

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In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

READ ALSO: The German road signs that confuse foreigners