Germany conducts raids over hate posts against politicians

BERLIN (AP) — German authorities carried out raids across the country and questioned more than 100 suspects Tuesday in an investigation of hate posts against politicians connected to last year’s national election, prosecutors said.

The Frankfurt prosecutor’s office and the Federal Criminal Police Office said that the raids resulted from an analysis of over 600 posts on social media for criminal content. The investigation was based on legislation that was introduced last year to provide for tough punishment of slander and abuse of people “in political life,” whether at local, regional or federal level.

It provides for a punishment of up to three years in prison for abuse motivated by the person’s position in public life that is liable to “significantly complicate their public work.”

Prosecutors didn’t name the targets of the posts that resulted in the raids, but said that the investigation covered posts against politicians from all the parties currently in Germany’s national parliament and two-thirds of them are women. It said they included abuse against nationally known politicians as well as fake quotes that appeared designed to discredit their targets.

The parliament was elected in late September.

Tuesday’s move “makes clear the scale on which office-holders are being insulted, slandered and threatened online,” the top prosecutor in Germany’s central Hesse state, Torsten Kunze, said in a statement.

There was no immediate word of any arrests.

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