Attacks on politicians: “Legal-politically unwise and purely symbolic politics” – criticism of the transfer to tighten penalties | EUROtoday

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DSPD politician Matthias Ecke has his cheekbone damaged by a youngster in Dresden, and native Green politician Yvonne Mosler is harassed, threatened and spat on. Berlin's Economics Senator Franziska Giffey (SPD) was bodily attacked and injured in a library, and an AfD member of the state parliament in Nordhorn, Lower Saxony, was pelted with eggs and hit within the face at an info stand. These are only a few drastic examples from the record of current violent crimes in opposition to politically energetic individuals.

The local weather has worsened for the reason that homicide of CDU politician Walter Lübcke in 2017. In 2023, most violent crimes had been dedicated in opposition to the AfD (86 instances), adopted by the Greens (62 instances). If you are taking all varieties of offenses collectively, the Greens are probably the most affected (1219 instances), adopted by the AfD (478 instances). The majority are speech crimes, comparable to threats, insults, coercion or slander.

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A poster with the picture of Terry Reintke, the Green Party's top candidate for the European elections, has been painted over with white paint

In response to those violent incidents, the individually convened Conference of Interior Ministers (IMK) known as for the assessment of tightening felony regulation for offenses in opposition to politically energetic individuals and elected officers in a decision on Tuesday. The federal and state inside ministers notice that “the consequences of these acts extend beyond the injury to the individual to the functionality of the free, democratic basic order.”

In addition, the present “Federal Council Initiative for a Law on the Criminal Protection of Non-Profit Activities” ought to be pushed ahead extra shortly “in order to punish corresponding attacks on politically active people more severely and to sanction the socially harmful nature of such acts more harshly”.

In addition, regulation enforcement also needs to be improved within the space of ​​combating politically motivated crime by storing IP addresses with out trigger to determine on-line units. Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) additionally introduced that she wished to alter the registration regulation with a purpose to higher shield the residential addresses of native politicians, for instance. Coercion in entrance of politicians' personal properties happens repeatedly.

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Election poster by Michael C. Müller in Waltershausen

However, the ministerial group reacted cautiously to the Saxon initiative to create a brand new felony offense for assaults on political personnel. Hamburg's Interior Senator Andy Grothe (SPD) stated within the subsequent press convention that this debate had not taken up a lot area. Faeser stated that perpetrators should really feel “the full rigor of the rule of law” via fast proceedings. If stricter punishments are mandatory, she is going to shortly communicate to Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) about it.

However, NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) is skeptical about this and doesn’t need to focus countermeasures solely on politicians. He tells WELT: “We in North Rhine-Westphalia have been doing something for years against the growing violence against employees in the public service, against rescue workers, employees in the immigration office or police officers. Don’t they also serve the public and don’t need protection?”

The home coverage spokesman for the Union parliamentary group within the Bundestag, Alexander Throm, goes even additional and speaks of the impression of “first and second class victims of violence”. The CDU politician calls Faeser’s newest guarantees “helpless activism.” “More and more citizens are also feeling the increasing violence in their everyday lives. The Interior Minister is completely silent about this.”

The inhibition threshold for violence has fallen dramatically

The deputy chairman of the FDP, Wolfgang Kubicki, additionally complains about double requirements: “What bothers me is that when a politician is affected, everyone screams. If a youth gang terrorizes a city or people are beaten up at the train station, then that is more likely to be tolerated.” Overall, the inhibition threshold for violence has fallen dramatically.

SPD home politician Sebastian Hartmann contradicts this angle. He tells WELT: “The aim of the acts is not bodily harm as such. The perpetrators are interested in attacking our democratic system and in particular obstructing free elections. The aim is to create a climate of uncertainty and hatred.” The debate about first- and second-class victims of violence grossly ignores this downside and is “essentially corrosive and detrimental to the defense of our democracy.” With regard to politically motivated violence, Germany wants each: constant prosecution of criminals and a tightening of felony regulation.

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Georg Maier (SPD), Interior Minister of Thuringia

The site visitors mild events disagree in regards to the inside ministers' proposal. The first parliamentary managing director of the Green Party, Irene Mihalic, can also be cautious and warns in opposition to “quick shots with undesirable consequences and side effects” in relation to modifications in felony regulation. She is open to inspecting particular proposals. “However, with a view to the current election campaigns, changes in criminal law will not have any effect and will come too late. The Conference of Interior Ministers has not dealt enough with what can and must now be done very quickly, namely protecting the election campaigners as best as possible.

Where necessary, sufficient police forces should be available in cross-federal and state cooperation. However, this is likely to be a challenge for the authorities due to the staff shortage.

The left's legal policy spokeswoman, Clara Bünger, sees the problem as being due to inadequate law enforcement – especially with regard to the far right. “I don’t think it’s necessary to tighten criminal law. But what is needed is consistent prosecution of right-wing and racist crimes.”

The home coverage spokesman for the AfD parliamentary group, Gottfried Curio, is in favor of bettering the authorized scenario for “all violent crimes and for all victims of violence”. “Because where a politician can actually be better protected, every other citizen should also be able to benefit from such improvements in their protection.”

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WELT author Thomas Schmid

From a authorized perspective, there may be at the moment solely Section 188 within the Criminal Code, which explicitly refers to offenses in opposition to individuals in political life. This supplies for harsher penalties for the offenses of insult, slander and slander if they’re publicly directed in opposition to a political determine. For instance, the offense of insult can lead to a jail sentence of as much as three years – and never simply as much as two years, as can be the case with different individuals.

The inside ministers are subsequently primarily specializing in the offenses in Sections 17 and 18 of the Criminal Code, for which there isn’t a such tightening but. These embrace bodily hurt and coercion. In precept, the “motives and goals of the perpetrator” in addition to the “responsible effects of the crime” can affect the sentence, even below present regulation. As stipulated within the paragraph on sentencing (Section 46 of the Criminal Code), this is applicable, for instance, to acts with an inhumane background.

With the legislative initiative talked about within the IMK resolution, the Federal Council wish to complement the sentencing in such a means that “with regard to the culpable effects of the act, those which are likely to have a more than insignificant impact on the charitable commitment of the injured party should also be taken into account.”

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Tatjana Hörnle, head of the felony regulation division on the Max Planck Institute, considers the IMK proposals to be problematic. She tells WELT: “Criminal law already has sufficient instruments to punish such offenses appropriately. Occasion-related criminal norms should be avoided because they bloat the criminal code and make it confusing – and especially if they suggest that special rights are being created for groups. An appropriate punishment that corresponds to the injustice of a specific act is possible because the legal penalty framework leaves a lot of leeway.”

When figuring out the sentence, it could play a job whether or not the results had been notably extreme for the person sufferer or for most people. Negative results of an act on society or democracy within the case of crimes in opposition to political figures might already be taken under consideration to make the punishment extra extreme. The regulation doesn’t have to be modified for this. “Not every daily constellation should result in new laws. This is legally unwise and purely symbolic politics.”

Whether the Interior Minister's proposals are put into apply now is determined by the federal and state justice departments, which should study the opportunity of tightening the rules.