German police commissioner is hit with hate speech charges

German police commissioner is hit with hate speech charges

February 26, 2021

German police commissioner ‘who shared anti-Muslim images and pictures of Hitler before explosives were found at his house’ is hit with hate speech charges

  • The unnamed suspect, 46, was also charged with possessing illegal weapons and explosives, German prosecutors said on Thursday
  • The suspect had served at the police headquarters in the city of Wiesbaden
  • In 2018, they shared pictures of Hitler giving the Nazi salute with 30 other people, including police officers
  • The charges come as German police and security agencies face accusations of not doing enough to unearth potentially violent nationalists in their ranks

A German police commissioner has been charged with sedition and hate speech after sharing anti-Muslim images and pictures of Adolf Hitler.

The unnamed suspect, 46, was also charged with possessing illegal weapons and explosives. 

The suspect, who had served at the police headquarters in the city of Wiesbaden, had shared pictures of Hitler performing the Nazi salute with 30 other people – including police officers – on WhatsApp, prosecutors said on Thursday.

The charges come as German police and security agencies face accusations of not doing enough to unearth potentially violent nationalists in their ranks. 

A German police commissioner has been charged with sedition and hate speech after sharing anti-Muslim images and pictures of Adolf Hitler [File photo]

‘The suspect shared pictures showing Adolf Hitler in uniform with an armband bearing a swastika and performing the so-called Hitler salute with an outstretched right arm as well as images that convey hostility toward people with dark skin and Muslims,’ Frankfurt Senior Public Prosecutor Nadja Niesen said.

She added that the suspect had shared the images in late 2018, and officers found firearms, heavy weapons and explosives during a search of his residence a year later.

Niesen did not say why charges against him were being filed only now or how the suspect had pleaded. 

The suspect’s brother, who was also a police commissioner and left the force voluntarily, is due to go on trial in April on charges of sharing illegal symbols, possessing illegal weapons and sharing secret police information with civilians, the prosecutor said.

A third police commissioner, who has been relieved of his duties, has been charged with sharing sensitive information from the police computer systems with civilians. 

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency said in a report last year that less than one per cent of Germany’s police force, security agencies and military personnel espouse far-right world views and sympathies.

The report was part of a wider inquiry into far-right extremism in the civil service.

Pro-Nazi hate speech is a sensitive issue in Germany, where awareness of the genocides of millions of Jews under Hitler is strong.  

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