German Green politician prevented search for Berlin terrorist
Published: December 26, 2016, 4:51 pm
A Green politician in Germany faces calls to resign after he allegedly prevented police from sharing the identikit of the Berlin jihadist while he was still at large.
German media reported that Till Steffen prevented law enforcers in Hamburg from releasing photographs of Anis Amri, despite Amri being the world’s most wanted man in the wake of the terror mass attack in the country’s capital.
Amri, 24, was named as a suspect on Wednesday when DNA evidence was found in the truck which mowed down and killed 12 Christmas shoppers and injured scores more.
Steffen, who is head of the judicial authority in Hamburg, allegedly prevented the pictures being circulated because he feared sharing images of Islamist terror suspects would “incite racial hatred”.
In essence Steffen had prevented the public search for Amri, said CDU and AfD, but Steffen rejected the criticism. Newspaper Bild reported that police were able to give a description of the killer, but could not show the public what he looked like because of “privacy concerns”.
Insiders claim he was worried the pictures of terror suspects would incite racial hatred. The Green politician only granted an exception after a call from the newspaper, but his hesitation had reportedly caused a 12 hour delay in the search for a dangerous terrorist on the run.
Steffen prevented the Hamburg police for more than twelve hours to launch a search for the terrorist suspect, who was eventually shot and killed in Milan.
On Friday CDU faction leader André Trepoll called Steffen on Facebook a “security risk”. The AfD said he was not up to his task and demanded his immediate resignation if the allegations were confirmed, ndr.de reported.
Joachim Lenders, chairman of Hamburg’s regional police force, is quoted by Bild saying: “It is incomprehensible that investigating authorities are thrown such truncheons.”
Hamburg CDU politician Richard Seelmaecker, expressed his outrage: “Anis Amri has allegedly murdered twelve people, but instead of using all means to search for him, Hamburg’s green lawmaker is more concerned about comments on Facebook.”
The judicial authority has justified the hesitation with “legal considerations”. In contrast to all other federal states, Hamburg and Bremen needed the green light from the domestic authority on Thursday, for a search inquiry via Facebook, which Steffen refused.
According to Steffen he feared “hate commentaries” or “calls for lynchings”.
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