ExtremistsHundreds of German neo-Nazis free despite arrest warrants

Published 7 December 2018

The German authorities have a problem finding and arresting violent neo-Nazis. The German government admitted as much in a response to a parliamentary request from an opposition party. The German government has admitted that 467 neo-Nazis are at large throughout the country despite active warrants for their arrest.

The German authorities have a problem finding and arresting violent neo-Nazis. The German government admitted as much in a response to a parliamentary request from an opposition party.

The German government has admitted that 467 neo-Nazis are at large throughout the country despite active warrants for their arrest.

The government acknowledged the figures in a response to a parliamentary request for information by the opposition Left Party. Of the 467 neo-Nazis, 32 are thought to have fled to hide out abroad. An additional seven perpetrators of right-wing crimes in are wanted by authorities from other .

According to the government response, the number of neo-Nazis wanted by German police has nearly doubled in the past four years. The government cited the massive influx of refugees as one reason for the spike. Right-wing attacks against asylum centers, it said, have significantly since 2015.

Criminologist Christian Pfeiffer confirmed that trend, telling DW that “For a long time we saw an increase in right-wing crime, so it’s normal that there are still many outstanding arrest warrants from back then,” he told DW. “I do believe that number will go down again, because the right-wing extremist scene has quieted down some for now.”

Left Party lawmaker Ulla Jelpke criticized law enforcement for failing to reduce overall numbers of fugitive neo-Nazis.

“The security authorities need to think of something to capture these fugitive Nazis more quickly,” she told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

More than a quarter of the right-wing extremists are considered prone to , with just over 100 wanted for committing a violent crime.

Authorities warn that many could commit fresh crimes at right-wing rallies or music concerts.

“The figures are an alarming sign that the Nazi scene is and remains violent and criminal,” Jelpke said.

increase in outstanding arrest warrants

DW notes that the increase in the number of neo-Nazis with outstanding arrest warrants is in line with a general rise in outstanding arrest warrants in Germany. In March 2018, German police had 175,397 arrest warrants on file that had yet to be enforced. This number has been rising steadily since 2014. Compared to March 2017, it has increased by 7.5 percent.



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