German politician convicted for sharing migrant crime stats

The AfD’s Marie-Therese Kaiser was fined for pointing out that Afghans commit 70 times more gang rapes than Germans

A court in Lower Saxony has convicted Alternative for Germany (AfD) politician Marie-Therese Kaiser of inciting hatred by sharing government data showing that Afghans are disproportionately more likely to commit gang rape.

Kaiser, who leads the right-wing party’s Rotenburg chapter, made a post on Facebook in 2021 criticizing the mayor of Hamburg for offering asylum to 200 Afghans who had worked with German troops in Afghanistan. Kaiser described the Afghans as “culturally alien masses” and linked to an article containing government statistics showing that Afghans in Germany are 70 times more likely to commit gang rape than native Germans.

A regional court in the town of Verden ruled on Monday that the post violated the “human dignity” of the Afghan workers, and amounted to “an “incitement to hatred” against them. The ruling upheld a previous judgment by a court in Rotenberg last year.

Kaiser was issued 100 daily fines of €60, amounting to €6,000 ($6,447), and will be left with a criminal record.

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“Simply naming numbers, dates and facts is to be declared a criminal offense, just because the establishment does not want to face reality,” Kaiser said before the trial. “I will not allow myself to be silenced.”

Kaiser’s lawyers attempted to invoke her right to free speech, but this argument was rejected by Judge Heiko Halbfas, who declared that “anyone who attacks human dignity cannot invoke freedom of expression.”

The verdict drew international attention, with Tesla CEO and X owner Elon Musk expressing disbelief that someone could be prosecuted “for repeating accurate government statistics.”

In a post on X on Tuesday, Kaiser described the ruling as a “miscarriage of justice.” 

“Mass migration is dangerous,” she said, adding: “We must speak openly about the risks and the groups of perpetrators.”

Germany is home to nearly 400,000 Afghan citizens, out of a total foreign-born population of around 14 million. The influx of asylum seekers that followed former Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to open the country’s borders at the height of the 2015 refugee crisis precipitated a drastic rise in violent crime, the majority of it perpetrated by immigrants. 

READ MORE: Germany to introduce ‘payment cards’ for asylum seekers

According to statistics compiled by Germany’s Federal Crime Office, violent crime levels reached a record high last year, with foreigners responsible for 41.2% of cases involving grievous bodily harm, despite making up less than 15% of the population. Overall, foreigners were four times more likely to commit all types of crime than native Germans.

Amid the crime spike, the AfD has surged in popularity and is currently the country’s second-largest political party. However, Germany’s mainstream parties have repeatedly ruled out entering into coalition with AfD, and a government-funded watchdog group has called for the party to be banned for its “racist and nationalist” positions.

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