Opposition politicians have questioned whether Berlin’s Social Democrat (SPD) Mayor Michael Müller abused his power after he triggered a police operation and search of the home of a woman who had criticised him on social media in actions later deemed unlawful.
The case began on April 14th, 2019, when a Facebook user named “Karina Fitzi” posted a doctored image of Müller that indicated he wanted to bring all the migrants picked up by NGO “rescue” transports to Berlin.
Despite there woman not having even created the photo, Müller contacted Berlin’s Chief Prosecutor Jörg Raupach and demanded action be taken against the user in a note that has only recently become public, the tabloid B.Z. reports.
After determining the true identity of the person behind the Facebook account, a district judge issued a search warrant. Police conducted a 6 a.m. raid on the woman’s home in February 2020, waking her, and confiscated two tablets and two mobile phones. The woman said that since that day, she had suffered from a sleep disorder.
In October, a court ruled that the search of the apartment and the seizure of the electronics had been unlawful.
Angela Merkel is preparing to force Internet service providers to hand over data, including passwords, of those accused of "hate speech." https://t.co/Ufqqqq0WrV
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) December 22, 2019
Holger Krestel, spokesman for the Free Democratic Party (FDP) parliamentary group on legal policy, commented on the case, saying: “It seems that Michael Müller has used his position as mayor to directly initiate investigations with the head of the Berlin public prosecutor’s office, bypassing the normal procedural route.”
Sven Rissmann, spokesman for the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) parliamentary group on legal policy, called for a parliamentary review into the incident and questioned how the case got such a high priority that would normally only be seen for serious crimes.
Mr Rissmann remarked that “the action was evidently at a record pace that one would otherwise wish for serious crimes. Was there any political pressure or influence from the Justice Senator?”
The German government has made it a priority to tackle so-called “hate speech” on social media platforms for several years, introducing a bill in late 2019 that forced Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to hand over any personal information, including passwords, of those accused of engaging in hate speech. The bill was approved in February of last year.
House raids over allegations of “hate speech” are also necessarily uncommon in Germany. In June 2017, 36 homes were raided in a single operation. Just one year before, the homes of 60 people were raided.
Germany Declares Burning EU Flag a Hate Crime Punishable by Three Years in Prison: https://t.co/P1x1S2dTxj
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 15, 2020