Germany Holds Raids Over Hate Speech Against Politicians

German authorities on Tuesday carried out raids across the country and questioned more than 100 suspects, following an investigation into posts containing hate speech against politicians linked to last year’s election.

The Frankfurt prosecutor’s office and the Federal Criminal Police Office said the raids resulted from an analysis of more than 600 posts on social media for criminal content. The investigation builds on a law introduced last year to provide severe penalties for libel and harassment in political life, whether at the local, regional or federal level.

The law carries a penalty of up to three years in prison for perpetrators of harassment who significantly complicates the public work of the person being targeted.

The prosecutor’s office did not name the posts targeted by the raid, but said the investigation included posts against politicians from all parties currently in Germany’s national parliament, where two-thirds of the victims were women.

The office also said the posts investigated included harassment of nationally known politicians as well as fake quotes that appeared to be designed to discredit victims.

Germany’s new parliament was elected at the end of last September. The move the authorities took Tuesday “clarifies the scale at which incumbents are humiliated, slandered and threatened on line,” said the top prosecutor in the state of Hesse, Torsten Kunze, in a statement.

There have been no reports of arrests following the massive raid. [ab/uh]