Berlin (AFP) – Police in eastern Germany came under fire Wednesday after far-right groups posted online the leaked arrest warrant for a fatal stabbing that has 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 Syrian and an Iraqi man suspected of killing a 35-year-old German man with multiple stabbings in the late-night altercation.
Authorities have not yet identified the victim or suspects in keeping with the German convention of protecting the identities of people involved in judicial proceedings.
However, the full 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.
State premier Michael Kretschmer, who has defended the police force against charges of being ill-prepared to deal with the far-right rallies, promised that “we will clarify the matter,” speaking to regional public broadcaster MDR.
Saxony has been a stronghold of far-right parties and groups that bitterly oppose Chancellor Angela Merkel for her 2015 decision to keep open German borders to a mass influx of migrants and refugees.
Police in the state have also come under fire for the alleged sympathies of some officers with the far-right and the anti-Islam movement PEGIDA.
Saxony police last week apologised for obstructing a TV crew at a rightwing anti-Merkel rally at the instigation of a nationalist protester who turned out to be an off-duty police employee.
Dulig said that “it has got to be clear that certain things will no longer be tolerated in the police force”.
The latest controversy comes as the mood remains highly charged following what have been labelled as “pogrom-like” scenes in Chemnitz on Sunday in which extremists chased and beat immigrants from Afghanistan, Syria and Bulgaria.
On Monday night some 7,000 protesters, most of them football hooligans and rightwing nationalists, again took to the city’s streets and clashed with leftist anti-fascist protesters, leaving some 20 people injured.
Police said they were investigating 10 incidents of protesters making the illegal Hitler salute.