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Thousands of crimes against refugees recorded in 2016: report

Media reports on Thursday showed that more than 3,000 crimes were committed against refugees or their homes last year.

Thousands of crimes against refugees recorded in 2016: report
Graffiti reading "no asylum" in Freital, Saxony where a group will soon go on trial for crimes against refugee homes.

A preliminary report by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) shows 970 crimes committed against asylum homes in 2016, according to reports by broadcaster NDR, the Süddeutsche Zeitung and news agency EPD on Thursday.

States reported another 2,396 crimes against refugees outside of homes last year, according to EPD.

The number of crimes against asylum homes was a drop from 2015 at the height of the influx of refugees arriving in the country, when 1,031 such crimes were reported. Both numbers were roughly five times higher than the crimes recorded in 2014 – 199.

But officials had not separately recorded crimes against refugees outside of shelters before, thus there is no available comparison for the figure of close to 2,400 incidents.

While overall crime decreased at refugee centres, the incidents reported seemed to increase in violence. The number of assaults reported rose to 78 last year from 60 in 2015, and the number of cases that involved guns almost doubled, from 31 in 2015 to 57 last year.

Still, the number of arson attacks did drop, though the media reports did not specify online by how much. Outside of refugee homes, there were nearly 400 cases of assault.

Last week German police launched raids across the country in an investigation into a right-wing extremist terror group that was believed to be plotting attacks on asylum seekers, Jews and police. Two men were arrested, one of whom had been identified as part of the so-called Reichsbürger movement – people who do not recognize the legitimacy of the German government.

“Our nation has shown that it can defend itself – and have a sharp eye toward – right-wing extremism, right-wing violence and right-wing hatred,” said Baden-Württemberg interior minister Thomas Strobl at the time.

Meanwhile the trial of eight members of a suspected right-wing terrorist group in Freital is set to begin in March in Dresden. The seven men and one woman are accused of committing at least five xenophobic or politically motivated attacks against refugee homes or political opponents, and face charges of forming a terrorist group, attempted murder, causing explosions and grievous bodily harm.

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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