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Police under fire after far-right mob violence in Germany

August 30, 2018

Berlin: Police in eastern Germany were accused Wednesday of stoking tensions by leaking to far-right groups the arrest warrant over a fatal stabbing that sparked racist mob violence.

"It’s unacceptable that some police officers think they can leak things like this even though they know they’re committing an offence," said Saxony state’s deputy premier Martin Dulig, calling the release a "scandal".

Saxony, in Germany’s ex-communist east, has again become a hotspot for xenophobia after a knife killing early Sunday in the city of Chemnitz led to protests that degenerated into rightwing extremists hunting down immigrants in the streets.

Police on Monday arrested a 22-year-old Iraqi and a Syrian, 23, suspected of killing a 35-year-old German identified only as Daniel H. with multiple stabbings in the late-night altercation. Authorities have not yet fully disclosed the identities of the victim or suspects in keeping with the German convention of protecting the identities of people involved in judicial proceedings.

However, the arrest warrant of one of the suspects found its way into the hands of rightwing groups who then posted it online, where it was widely shared, spelling out the full names of the suspects, victim, eye-witnesses and the judge.

National Interior Minister Horst Seehofer called the release "completely unacceptable", and prosecutors said they had launched an investigation on suspicion of breach of official secrets rules. Lawyer Sebastian Scharmer, who has defended victims of neo-Nazi violence, said he had filed a criminal complaint against an activist who posted the warrant, Lutz Bachmann of far-right movement PEGIDA, short for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident.