Third of neo-Nazi officials on police radar

Almost one third of officials within the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) have been convicted of crimes or are being investigated in connection with criminal activities. The figures were released as the party's leader stepped down.

Third of neo-Nazi officials on police radar
Photo: DPA

The information comes from a previously unpublished document that has been submitted to Germany's Constitutional Court by the federal states as part of a bid to ban the controversial political party, according to the Berliner Zeitung, which obtained the papers.

A total of 31.25 percent of the 176 officials listed in the ban application, including members of the party's leadership, were found to have been convicted of crimes or were being investigated. The crimes were mainly for violence including assault, criminal damage, breach of the peace, violations of the weapons act and politically motivated crimes dating as far back as the 90's.

Around a quarter of those with convictions received fines or a suspended prison sentence, while offenders were imprisoned in 6.8 percent of the cases. 

The report comes as the NPD announced that its leader Holger Apfel had stepped down on Thursday morning from his position and as parliamentary leader in Saxony's state parliament.

In a statement issued by the party, it said Apfel had resigned due to illness. However, quarrels had been reported within the party's leadership over choosing the lead candidate for the upcoming European elections, according to Spiegel.

A special session of the NPD leaders will take place on Sunday to discuss the issue.

Right-wing crime up in Berlin

The number of right-wing extremist crimes in Berlin has risen since 2012, with 72 cases recorded this year compared with 53 last year, according to a statement made by Berlin's senator of the interior Frank Henkel.

"Of particular concern is the violence that is derived from the conflict between right and left extremists," he said.

Meanwhile, the head of Berlin's intelligence agency, Bernd Palenda, told the Berliner Zeitung that in the capital there are around 1,400 people in the far-right scene, about half of whom were prepared to commit acts of violence.

"The current lack of structure in the active far-right extremism has exacerbated the situation," he said. "Individuals, whose activities are no longer tied with those of groups, could feel the call to attack political opponents on their own and with particularly brutal methods."

READ MORE: 'Tolerate the party but stamp on fascist bullies'

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