Thu, Jan 04, 2018 - Page 6 News List

AfD lawmaker accused of incitement over tweet

Reuters, BERLIN

German police have asked prosecutors to investigate a far-right lawmaker for possible incitement to hatred after she criticized a police force for tweeting in Arabic “to appease the barbaric, Muslim, rapist hordes of men.”

Police in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) posted a New Year’s Eve greeting in Arabic, German, English and French.

“What the hell is wrong with this country? Why is the official page of police in NRW tweeting in Arabic,” Beatrix von Storch, a member of the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, wrote on Sunday in tweet that was later deleted by Twitter after receiving complaints.

“Are they seeking to appease the barbaric, Muslim, rapist hordes of men?” she added.

Twitter suspended her account for about 12 hours after she posted the message, saying it breached the site’s rules that bar users from posting hateful messages.

Social media platforms face hefty fines in Germany if they fail to swiftly remove hateful posts, and companies like Facebook and Twitter have hired extra staff to monitor such messages.

Prosecutors in NRW must first decide whether they should deal with the police complaint against Von Storch or transfer the case to Berlin authorities, given that her constituency is in the capital.

If prosecutors deem there are sufficient grounds to launch an official criminal investigation against her, they would first have to ask parliament to suspend her immunity.

Cologne Chief Prosecutor Ulf Willuhn said prosecutors must decide whether Von Storch’s message amounted to “inciting people to commit violence against a certain section of society.”

Von Storch declined to comment when asked about the police complaint, but added it was important to speak freely about problems in Germany without censorship and threat of charges.

“Political correctness has led to a situation where a lot of severe problems can no longer be addressed openly,” she told Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung.

Twitter also deleted a message by AfD member Alice Weidel in which she said German authorities wanted Germans to live with criminal mobs of migrants.

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