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AFGHANISTAN

Embassy staff suspected of taking bribes

Following the arrest of a German diplomat last month, prosecutors are now investigating other allegations that employees at numerous German embassies sold visas for bribes.

Embassy staff suspected of taking bribes
Image source: DPA

A diplomat was arrested on May 21 on suspicion of selling visas for Germany to people from Afghanistan. The 40-year old had been head of Germany’s visa office in the Gulf state of Dubai.

Investigators are now also looking at some 20 different cases in embassies and consulates in 12 different countries, although they say that there is no indication yet that these cases are related to that of the diplomat.

According to Der Spiegel magazine, for the past four years the career diplomat had allegedly been issuing visas to Afghan citizens, based on fake documents provided by a company based in the Emirates. Dubai airport is an important transit stop for Afghans who want to travel to Europe.

The price for each visa was up to $3,000 in cash. The man was arrested while on leave in Berlin and his alleged client, an Afghan business man, was arrested in Hamburg.

The Berlin State Prosecutors Office has confirmed that they are now looking into 20 cases relating to the issuing of visas. The charges are bribery, corruption and human trafficking.

There are thought to have been irregularities at German diplomatic missions in 12 countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Egypt, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

A spokesperson for the prosecutors said that there were dozens of suspects, most of whom were locally employed workers at German embassies and consulates.

The Local/DPA/smd

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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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