German ministers demand ban on far-right group

Several interior ministers of various German states are demanding a ban on an allegedly armed far-right extremist group.

German ministers demand ban on far-right group
Seized weapons and a shield from the criminal neo-Nazi group "Combat 18" are located in the Schleswig-Holstein State Criminal Police Office (LKA) in 2003. Photo: DPA

The interior ministers of Lower Saxony, Thuringia and Hesse are calling to outlaw the German branch of the international far-right extremist network Combat 18 (C18), which is already officially listed as a terrorist organization in some countries.

“If we can ban Combat 18 on a constitutional basis, we should do so as quickly as possible,” Lower Saxony's interior minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) told the Monday edition of Berlin's taz newspaper.

The relationship between Stephan Ernst, the alleged murderer of Kassel politician Walter Lübcke, and Combat 18 is also currently under investigation.

Pro-immigration Lübcke was killed with a shot to the head in his home in June, spawning a countrywide debate about what can be done to combat right-wing extremism in Germany.

According to the most recent government estimates from May, there are 12,700 far-right extremists in Germany.

READ ALSO: Politician in Hesse killed with shot to head

Thuringia's Interior Minister Georg Maier (SPD) also told taz that “should the federal government initiate a ban procedure, I strongly welcome and support it”. 

Hesse's Interior Minister Peter Beuth (CDU) also wrote a letter to Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) stating that “Hesse is committed” to a ban and asking that it be adopted Germany-wide, reported taz.

'Anti-democratic and violent'

Founded in the UK in the early 1990s, the Combat 18 network has branches in several countries, including Russia, the US and Brazil. In June, Canada added it to its list of terrorist organzations.

Combat 18 is considered to be “neo-Nazi, racist, xenophobic, anti-democratic and violent group,” according to Germany’s Interior Ministry. 

They are regarded as the armed wing of the Blood & Honour right-wing extremist network, which has been banned in Germany since 2000. 

The number 18 is a popular code for right-wing extremists, because it is supposed to symbolize the initials of Adolf Hitler, A and H, reported Spiegel Online.

In Germany, its supporters are also said to have contact with the notorious NSU terror cell.

READ ALSO: Emotions high at start of neo-Nazi murder trial

Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has already announced that a ban on the group is being examined.


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New army scandal: Germany vows to punish soldiers caught singing anti-Semitic songs

Germany's Defence Minister on Tuesday vowed to severely punish soldiers stationed in Lithuania who were accused of singing racist and anti-Semitic songs, if the allegations turned out to be true.

New army scandal: Germany vows to punish soldiers caught singing anti-Semitic songs
German soldiers training in Saxony-Anhalt in May. credit: dpa-Zentralbild | Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert

“Whatever happened is in no way acceptable,” said Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

Those implicated would be “vigorously prosecuted and punished”, she added.

The Spiegel Online news site had on Monday reported that German soldiers in Lithuania sang racist and anti-Semitic songs during a party at a hotel in April.

One had also sought to sexually assault another soldier while he was asleep, a scene which was caught on film, said Spiegel.

According to Spiegel Online, the scenes took place at a party at which soldiers consumed large quantities of alcohol. They are also alleged to have arranged a “birthday table” for Adolf Hitler on April 20th and to have sung songs for him.

It is unclear to what extent more senior ranked soldiers were aware of the incidents.

Three soldiers have been removed from the contingent stationed in the Baltic country and an investigation is ongoing to identify other suspects, said the report.

The German armed forces have been repeatedly rocked by allegations of right-wing extremism within their ranks.

Kramp-Karrenbauer last year ordered the partial dissolution of the KSK commando force after revelations that some of its members harboured neo-Nazi sympathies.

SEE ALSO: Germany to compensate gay soldiers who faced discrimination