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Police probe far-right motive for 750 deaths

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Police probe far-right motive for 750 deaths
Photo: DPA/EPA/NESTOR BACHMANN
16:00 CET+01:00
Germany will review almost 750 unsolved murders, manslaughters and attempted killings dating back more than two decades to assess whether they were motivated by far-right extremism, officials said on Wednesday.

An initial police review of 3,300 such unsolved violent crimes between 1990 and 2011 had found that 746 of them, resulting in 849 deaths, will need a second look to see whether they were racial hate crimes, said the interior ministry.

The outcome is expected in the second quarter of next year, said a ministry spokesman, who cautioned that the review does not mean "that they are indeed crimes motivated by right-wing extremism."

Current statistics say about 60 people were killed in right-wing crimes since Germany's reunification in 1990.

Critics have long charged that official statistics underestimate the incidence of racist, xenophobic and other right-wing violent attacks, and complained that states use different standards in collating the figures.

The Green Party's parliamentary leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt said on Wednesday that authorities had "completely misjudged" the true extent of right-wing violent crime.

The chairwoman of the anti-xenophobia Amadeu Antonio Foundation, Anetta Kahane, accused the government of playing down the issue and challenged it to "face the fact that right-wing extremist violence is a huge problem".

Germany was shocked by news in 2011 that a series of 10 murders of mostly Turkish immigrants was committed by a three-member neo-Nazi cell that authorities now consider a terrorist group.

Beate Zschäpe, the only surviving member of the self-styled National Socialist Underground (NSU), is now on trial in Munich over the killing spree, which also claimed the lives of an ethnic Greek man and a German police woman.

The review announced Wednesday was sparked by the NSU case, which also motivated a new legal push launched this week by Germany's 16 states to seek a ban of the far-right and openly racist National Democratic Party of Germany.

READ MORE: States try to ban neo-Nazi party

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