Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 September 2019

Far-right crimes in Germany rise in 2019

Pro-migrant politician Walter Lübcke was murdered in June

Andreas Kalbitz of far-right Alternative for Germany rejects claims he has an extremist outlook. Reuters
Andreas Kalbitz of far-right Alternative for Germany rejects claims he has an extremist outlook. Reuters

Amid an increase in reports of crimes perpetrated by the far-right in Germany, one employee of the migrant rescue organisation Sea Watch has spoken of his time on an “enemy list” compiled by extremist and the death threats he received as a result.

Ruben Neugebauer said death threats from right-ring extremists had become part of the “everyday lives” for both himself and the team at Sea Watch.

His comments came after it was revealed by the German interior ministry that there were 8,605 right-wing related offences, including 363 violent crimes, in the first half of 2019. The figure marks an increase of some 900 compared to 2019, DW said.

According to figures released to the German parliament, only 23 people out of 2,625 suspects have been arrested for these offences.

Pro-migrant politicians have also been targeted. Last month local politician Walter Lübcke, an advocate for refugees and member of the ruling Christian Democratic Union of Germany party, was murdered by a neo-Nazi.

His alleged killer, who has since recounted an apparent confession, had a number of convictions related to anti-migrant crime.

Mr Lubcke, who was shot in the head outside his home, had reportedly appeared on a so-called “death list” that Mr Neugebauer, the Sea Watch worker, appears to be on.

"We've been getting death threats for years. It's become part of our everyday lives,” Mr Neugebauer told DW.

Anti-migration rhetoric and right-wing political parties have surged in Germany after the country’s open door policy allowed in hundreds of thousands of people fleeing conflict in the Middle East.

Earlier this week a member of the anti-migrant Alternative for Germany party, which could find success in the country's state elections next month, was forced to play down his connections to right-wing extremist movements.

At 21, Andreas Kalbitz, now 46, joined the far-right Republikaner party, which was under surveillance by German security officials at the time. “One could accuse me of right-wing extremist connections, but certainly not of having [a] far-right extremist biography,” he said.

Updated: August 15, 2019 03:45 PM

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