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Hesse police face claims of links with far-right scene

German police are facing growing accusations of links with the far-right scene after a police computer was used to search for details of a left-wing MP who received death threats.

Hesse police face claims of links with far-right scene
A policeman at a demonstration in Kassel in May 2019. Photo: DPA

Peter Beuth, interior minister for the state of Hesse, announced Thursday that he would appoint a “special investigator” to try to shed light on the case.

Beuth said a Frankfurt police computer had been used to search for personal data on Janine Wissler of the left-wing Die Linke party, who has received several threatening letters and emails since February.

The letters were signed “NSU 2.0”, a reference to the German neo-Nazi National Socialist Underground group that committed several racist murders in the 2000s.

Seda Basay-Yildiz, the Frankfurt lawyer who represented the victims' families in the NSU trial, has also received emails with the same signature, as have other politicians, including members of the ruling conservative CDU party.

Beuth said there was “no evidence” of a network of right-wing extremists in the police.

However, the discovery that the computer had been used to search for one of the victims “feeds suspicion,” he admitted.

READ ALSO: German police officer among arrests in national far-right swoop

“The suspicion weighs heavily,” he said. “I expect the Hesse police to leave no stone unturned in their efforts to dispel this suspicion.”

The case comes as the German police and army find themselves under increased scrutiny for extreme right-wing and racist views in their ranks, a debate fuelled by the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has come under fire for refusing to conduct a study on racial profiling in the police, despite backing for the idea from the Justice Ministry.

However, the BfV domestic intelligence agency announced on Thursday that it would issue a report by the end of September on extremist tendencies in all the country's security forces.

Member comments

  1. When I visited Germany in 2017 I remember very well the way the man in charge with checking passports looked at me and my family. This was the welcome reception we tourists have. He looked with disgust to me and my family with no intention to hide it. It was pure evilness in his eyes. When I read this I remembered every moment of this situation my wife, my 9 years old kid and me had to face. I do believe you have police involved with far right.

  2. Im from Brazil and will be back to your beautiful country someday despite this disgrace that happened.

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POLICE

German police under fire for using tracing app to find witnesses

German police drew criticism Tuesday for using an app to trace contacts from bars and restaurants in the fight against the pandemic as part of an investigation.

A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant.
A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat

The case stemming from November last year began after the fatal fall of a man while leaving a restaurant in the western city of Mainz.

Police seeking possible witnesses made use of data from an app known as Luca, which was designed for patrons to register time spent in restaurants and taverns to track the possible spread of coronavirus.

Luca records the length of time spent at an establishment along with the patron’s full name, address and telephone number – all subject to Germany’s strict data protection laws.

However the police and local prosecutors in the case in Mainz successfully appealed to the municipal health authorities to gain access to information about 21 people who visited the restaurant at the same time as the man who died.

After an outcry, prosecutors apologised to the people involved and the local data protection authority has opened an inquiry into the affair.

“We condemn the abuse of Luca data collected to protect against infections,” said the company that developed the Luca app, culture4life, in a statement.

It added that it had received frequent requests for its data from the authorities which it routinely rejected.

Konstantin von Notz, a senior politician from the Greens, junior partners in the federal coalition, warned that abuse of the app could undermine public trust.

“We must not allow faith in digital apps, which are an important tool in the fight against Covid-19, to disappear,” he told Tuesday’s edition of Handelsblatt business daily.

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