Raids in Germany over online hate speech

Berlin,  The police in Germany launched raids across the country on Thursday as part of a crackdown on incitement crimes being spread on the Internet.

According to the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), apartments had been searched and suspects were questioned in 38 individual cases, Xinhua news agency reported.

These suspects are accused of having posted hate comments on the Internet “such as public calls to commit crimes, insults to public officials or anti-Semitic insults” which are illegal under German law and can be sentenced to up to five years in prison.

The police were deployed in more than a dozen federal states as part of a coordinated operation.

According to the BKA, 77 per cent of cases were from the right-wing extremist spectrum, while only 9 per cent of the comments were from left-wing extremist.

The remaining 14 per cent would be classified as “foreign or religious ideologies” or could not be assigned to any political motivation, the BKA announced.

This week, the death of Kassel’s district President Walter Luebcke who strongly supported refugees had triggered questionable comments in the social networks by right-wing circles.

“This is simply cynical, tasteless, horrible, repugnant in every way,” German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier commented on the online responses by those who enjoyed and downright applauded Luebcke death.

Defaming deceased people in Germany with strong language and malice is against law and can lead to a sentence of up to two years in prison.

In 2017, the BKA registered 2,270 cases of online hate crime, compared with only 1,472 cases in 2018.