A German police ‘mole’ is feared to have leaked details of migrants charged over a stabbing murder in a case that sparked two days of neo-Nazi riots.
Officials have launched a probe into the leak of an arrest warrant that identified two suspects in the killing of Daniel Hillig, a married carpenter from Chemnitz.
The warrant describes one suspect as a 22-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker with a ‘substantial’ criminal record. A second suspect has been identified as a Syrian, 23, while the warrant alleges that the men knifed 35-year-old Hillig repeatedly in the chest.
The death sparked violent anti-foreigner protests in the eastern city earlier this week, drawing extremists from around the country. Critics said the warrant, which contained details of the number of stab wounds, may have been leaked to further inflame anger against migrants.
It comes as German media revealed details of the criminal past of the Iraqi suspect, with previous convictions including drug possession, fraud, vandalism and a pepper spray attack.
A far-right police mole is feared to have leaked the identities of migrants charged with murder to neo-Nazis in a case that sparked anti-immigrant riots (pictured) in Germany
Officials have launched a probe into the leak of an arrest warrant that identified suspects in the stabbing of Daniel Hillig (pictured), a married carpenter from Chemnitz
The death sparked violent anti-foreigner protests in the eastern city earlier this week, drawing extremists from around the country. Flowers are shown at the spot where Hillig was killed
According to Bild, the Iraqi, a barber in his homeland, arrived in Germany in 2015 and met the Syrian suspect in a local salon.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said judicial authorities should use all means at their disposal to respond to the leak of the arrest warrant.
The leak was a highly unusual occurrence that drew sharp criticism across Germany, which has strict privacy guidelines for judicial proceedings, and raised concerns of possible links between police and anti-migrant parties.
The stabbing and subsequent protests have exposed deep divisions in German society over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 2015 decision to open the door to more than one million migrants, mostly Muslims fleeing Middle East conflicts.
The incident has also laid bare close links between a range of anti-migrant groups, including soccer hooligans and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, and their ability to quickly mobilise thousands of demonstrators.
Prosecutors on Wednesday said they had launched an investigation into the leak and had taken steps to protect two witnesses named in the document.
The death sparked violent anti-foreigner protests in the eastern city earlier this week, drawing extremists from around the country
Fifty-seven percent of Germans view the anti-migrant riots, during which at least 10 people raised their arms in the banned ‘Hitler salute’, as a danger to democracy, a new Civey poll showed
The deputy premier of the state, Martin Dulig, a Social Democrat, suggested in two German media interviews that the leak had likely come from police or judicial authorities. ‘We have a bigger problem to deal with there,’ he told broadcaster MDR.
A spokesman for the Dresden prosecutor’s office, which is handling the investigation, said the circle of those who had access to the document was not small.
Migrant, 20, is beaten with an iron chain days after protests
Three attackers badly beat a 20-year old migrant in an eastern German town late on Wednesday, police said, after a stabbing case that triggered two days of violent anti-immigrant protests in another part of the country.
The migrant, who police did not name, was walking home in Wismar, a town on the Baltic Sea, when the attackers stopped him and began insulting him in German using xenophobic language. Two then punched him in the face and the third hit his shoulder and ribs with an iron chain, police said.
They then kicked him on the ground. The migrant suffered a broken nose and bruising to the face and upper body. Police, who gave no details about the victim’s ethnicity, appealed for witnesses to come forward.
The incident occurred days after the violent protests in the eastern city of Chemnitz that were triggered by the fatal stabbing of a German man there. An Iraqi and a Syrian have been arrested in connection with that crime.
The Chemnitz stabbing and subsequent protests have exposed deep divisions in German society over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 2015 decision to open the door to more than one million migrants, mostly Muslims fleeing conflicts in the Middle East.
Both Chemnitz and Wismar are in the formerly Communist eastern part of Germany, where anti-immigrant pressure groups including PEGIDA and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) political party have their heartlands.
Neither the Iraqi, nor a second suspect arrested in the stabbing, a 23-year-old Syrian man, had engaged an attorney, making it unlikely the leak came from them, experts said.
Saxon police last week apologised for a separate incident involving an off-duty police employee at an anti-Islam rally.
The AfD and PEGIDA, a far-right group that is under observation by intelligence agencies, say they will march again in Chemnitz on Saturday to ‘mourn Daniel H. (the stabbing victim) and the others killed by Germany’s forced multiculturalisation.’
PEGIDA co-founder Lutz Bachmann was among the first to publish the arrest warrant on Tuesday evening, along with a group called ‘Pro Chemnitz’ and a local AfD politician.
Fifty-seven percent of Germans view the anti-migrant riots, during which at least 10 people raised their arms in the banned ‘Hitler salute’, as a danger to democracy, a new Civey poll showed.
Ninety percent of AfD backers did not see the protests as a threat to democracy, it showed.
AfD leader Alexander Gauland justified the anti-migrant riots as self-defence in an interview with Die Welt newspaper. ‘When a homicide like this occurs, it’s normal that people flip out. Self-defence is certainly not vigilante justice.’
Merkel and her cabinet discussed the situation during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday and underscored their opposition to any form of vigilance justice, Seehofer told reporters. Such actions were ‘completely unacceptable.’
But U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein called for more widespread denunciation of what he called ‘shocking’ images from Chemnitz. ‘We really need a concentration of voices now to say that when we have incitement to hatred this is prohibited under international human rights law,’ he told reporters.