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Record number of far-right crimes in Germany last year

New statistics show that the number of crimes committed by far-right extremists in Germany jumped to the highest-level ever recorded in 2020.

Overall, the number of crimes categorised as ‘politically-motivated’ in Germany rose by nine per cent to a total of 44,692, contributing to ‘a trend established over the last few years’ and made worse by the pandemic impact on ‘polarisation’.

Law enforcement recorded 23,064 offences linked to far-right extremists in 2020, an increase of almost six per cent on 2019, and the highest figure since the country started collecting such records in 2001. In 2020, right-wing criminality accounted for over half of all politically-motivated crimes recorded.

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has labelled right-wing extremism as ‘the biggest threat for our country’.

Having proposed a record-level budget of €18 billion for 2021, the Federal Ministry of the Interior said in October last year that more was being done than ever before to fight right-wing extremism in German society.

Additionally, crimes perpetrated by radical left-wingers last year were up by 11 per cent from the previous year, at 1,526. Seehfer noted that protests against the coronavirus restrictions have become increasingly violent, attracting both left and right-wing extremists - triggering a high level of ‘confrontational crimes’, as well as attacks against police and the press.

German police arrested an alleged neo-Nazi on 4 May on suspicion of sending hundreds of threatening letters to politicians, lawyers and journalists in Germany and Austria dating back to 2018. Prosecutors in Frankfurt said that the suspect has previous convictions for ‘numerous crimes, including ones that were motivated by right-wing ideology’.

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