Former AfD leader Petry charged on suspicion of perjury

Former AfD leader Petry charged on suspicion of perjury
Frauke Petry. Photo: DPA.
The public prosecutor’s office in Dresden, Saxony, has filed charges against former Alternative for Germany (AfD) politician Frauke Petry on suspicion of false oath.

Petry is accused of giving false testimony under oath as a witness before the state electoral committee of the Saxon parliament in November 2015, judicial authorities announced in Dresden on Wednesday. If found guilty, she could face between six months and five years jail.

Two criminal charges were filed against Petry after the 42-year-old and former AfD co-chair was accused of lying under oath regarding financing for the party’s 2014 state election campaign.

She had provided contradictory statements before the electoral committee of the Saxon parliament in regards to a list of candidates for the 2014 state election, according to prosecutors. But Petry denied these accusations.

In August, Saxony’s immunity committee unanimously voted to lift her immunity, over a year after accusations that she committed perjury had begun. This meant that an investigation of allegations that she gave false testimony was pursued. Petry herself spoke out in favour of waiving her parliamentary immunity.

Shortly after the general election last week, Petry shocked her colleagues when she announced she was leaving the AfD party with plans to form a rival party.

One other lawmaker, Mario Mieruch, also left the AfD's parliamentary faction on Wednesday, citing concern about its drift to the extreme right, but it was unclear whether he would join forces with Petry.

The regional court in Dresden will now have to decide whether to approve the charges and the opening of main proceedings against her.