How many right-wing extremists are there with the German security authorities? In answering this question, the Federal Minister of the Interior Seehofer also cites worrying figures.
Nearly a third of suspected right-wing extremist cases are directed against more than one person in state security authorities. This is evident from a situation report on suspected right-wing extremism cases at the police, customs and secret services, which Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer (CSU) presented in Berlin on Tuesday. According to this, 31 percent of the total of 319 suspected cases in the federal states affected multiple people who often worked for the same authority. Some proceedings could not be confirmed and were discontinued.
Figures show how big problem awareness is
The figures refer to the period between the beginning of January 2017 and the end of March this year. The latest suspected cases from North Rhine-Westphalia have not yet been included. On Tuesday, the Dresden police announced that a police officer in the Saxon capital had been suspended for right-wing extremist statements. He got noticed for anti-constitutional chat contributions. Disciplinary proceedings are pending against the 38-year-old.
According to the situation report, most of the right-wing extremist suspected cases with state security authorities had been detected in recent years in Berlin, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia. However, the number of cases discovered does not necessarily show how widespread this phenomenon is in the respective federal state, but it is also an indication of how great awareness of the problem is there. For example, the scandal of right-wing extremist threatening e-mails in Hesse could recently have led to a special look.
53 right-wing extremist suspected cases with the Berlin authorities
According to the report, 53 suspected right-wing extremist cases have been registered with the Berlin security authorities, employing approximately 25,500 people. In Hesse there were 59. In Thuringia, where about 7,200 people are employed by the state security authorities, five suspected cases were investigated during the same period. The management report also lists 58 suspected cases with federal security authorities in the three years investigated.
Only in two of the cases registered by all federal and state authorities did an official appear to have joined a far-right organization. Contacts with such groups have been proven twice. In contrast, most of the suspected cases involved radical statements or the use of associated symbols, slogans or images in chats or social media.
Not a structural problem with right-wing extremism
According to the information, 21 percent of the proceedings before state authorities were closed, for example because an alleged crime could not be clearly proven. In the case of the federal government, this happened in 11 percent of the proceedings.
The situation report shows that more than 99 percent of police officers “stand firmly on the ground of the Basic Law,” said Horst Seehofer. It also means “that we don’t have a structural problem with right-wing extremism in federal and state security authorities.” Nevertheless, every case is “a shame”.
“No more individual cases”
Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Thomas Haldenwang, said his authority would not look at individual cases separately but wanted to clarify “whether we are dealing with networked right-wing extremists expanding their ties.” Federal police chairman Dieter Romann said he could see “no right-wing extremist networks” in his authority.
Domestic political spokesman for the Union parliamentary group Mathias Middelberg said that while the number of cases was low given the more than 300,000 employees, “the cases of right-wing extremism and racism now recognized by police and other security authorities, are no longer isolated cases. “
“It’s extremely dangerous”
The Green Group’s domestic politicians criticized: “It is extremely dangerous that the interior minister misjudges the dimensions of the problem and that necessary measures are avoided.”
Dirk Wiese, SPD vice-chairman, said: “The task now is to draw the correct conclusions from the results and determine whether there is a need for legislative action.”