German authorities have investigated hundreds of internet users over comments they made on a Facebook video posted by the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
The massive probe, spanning over 250 investigations, was launched in response to the live streaming of a migrant protest by the Bavarian-wing of the AfD party in 2017, German media disclosed on Saturday. Some 97 people were fined and three others were to face incitement charges in the court, the weekly Der Spiegel reported.
The massive police investigation is apparently meant as a warning to anonymous internet users critical of the country’s migrant policy.
“No one can hide behind a screen, not even with pseudonyms or made-up names,” Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann warned.
The Facebook comments against agitating migrants came after a series of riots in refugee centers across Germany. Muslim asylum seekers have repeadetly agitated against supposed lack of consideration shown by the German authorities during the fasting month of Ramadan. “With Ramadan Come the Riots,” a 2018 headline in the Germany daily Bild declared. In 2016, two migrants reportedly burned down a refugee center for allegedly not receiving extra chocolate spread ‘Nutella’ during the Ramanda festivities. The fire ended up causing an estimated $10 million worth of damage.
German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported:
German prosecutors in the southern state of Bavaria said on Friday that they’ve launched 257 official incitement investigations over a Facebook campaign by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) that targeted asylum-seekers.
The investigations have resulted in fines for 97 people so far, prosecutors in the town of Deggendorf told local public broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk. Three people have been formally charged with incitement, although it is not clear when their court dates will be.
Another 56 cases had to be dropped, as investigators could not determine exactly who was behind the comments as users hid their identities with pseudonyms. (…)
The massive incitement case concerns a video posted in 2017 by Deggendorf’s local AfD branch that criticized a protest by asylum-seekers.
The demonstrators were carrying out a hunger strike and protesting against the conditions at a migrant processing center in the town.
The livestreamed video garnered hundreds of “insulting, hateful, and xenophobic comments,” reported Bayerischer Rundfunk, who was shown the comments that are currently under investigation.
The AfD slammed the government for cracking down heavily on dissent on social media while failing to secure the country’s borders. “We would wish that the state controls its own borders as it does online comments,” head of Bavarian AfD, Martin Sicher, responded.
The same German authorities, who failed miserably to bring in the culprits of the 2016 New Year’s Eve sexual assaults by migrants — despite hundreds of testimonies by the victims, reliable eyewitness accounts and massive amount of surveillance footage, have shown great efficiency in tracking down dissent to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open immigration policy.
While authorities frantically search social media for traces of hate speech, the ISIS fighters are freely returning to Germany without any serious fear of prosecution for their heinous war crimes, German broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk confirms. Chancellor Merkel’s government has shown greatly concern for the fate of ISIS war criminals detained by Kurdish fighters in Syria and Iraq. German officials have justified the diplomatic efforts to bring the Jihadists and their families back on grounds of “humanitarian considerations and Germany’s duty to protect its citizens.”
The report of the online investigation comes at a time when the AfD is surging in polls ahead of the regional elections in eastern German, figures released on Sunday show. The right-wing party is polling ahead of Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democrats in eastern parts of Germany. The AfD of also ahead of its rivals in the key states of Saxony and Brandenburg that go to polls on September 1.