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    German Politician May Face Prosecution For Criticizing Police Tweet in Arabic

    © AFP 2019 / Leon Neal
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    Beatrix von Storch, a heavyweight member of the right-wing Alternative for Germany party (AfD), has become one of the first politicians affected by new hate speech laws on social networks. Public opinion on the controversial legislation is divided.

    A leading AfD politician, Beatrix von Storch, was blocked from Twitter and Facebook on Monday after criticizing the Cologne police for posting a New Year's tweet in Arabic.

    "What the hell is happening in this country? Why is an official police site tweeting in Arabic? Do you think it is to appease the barbaric, gang-raping hordes of Muslim men?" Beatrix von Storch, the deputy leader of the AfD's parliamentary group, wrote on her social media accounts.

    Her post was later deleted after Twitter blocked the politician's account for 12 hours and sent her a message noting that she had violated hate speech rules. A similar situation occurred on Facebook with the social media giant restricting access to her post due to a hate speech complaint.

    "Facebook has also censored me. That is the end of the constitutional state," the politician wrote.

    The AfD has labelled the new hate speech legislation that entered into force on January 1 a "censorship law." The opinion of the German public on the controversial law is divided.

    Some people have criticized the law, saying that it is aimed at deleting any unwelcome opinions.

    ​The situation has escalated. The state is trapped, so are its political actors, law enforcement agencies, administration, church. They have got lost in their law violations, and now they want to make silent those who point it out. That's how dictatorships work!

    ​Fear of AfD

    In a constitutional state, what is punishable and what is not is still decided by judges and courts but not censors.

    Others, however, believe that censoring hate speech is the right thing to do and slammed von Storch for her recent statement.

    Hatred and hate speech against minorities have rightly had no place in Germany since the Nazi era. Mrs. von Storch and some AfD members seem to have a different opinion.

    A good decision by Facebook

    A private company can act as it wants, whether you like the reasoning or not.

    On Monday, the Cologne police said that they had filed a criminal complaint against von Storch for hate speech.

    Earlier, the police published on its Twitter account several posts containing New Year's greetings and recommendations on how to celebrate safely.

    READ MORE: Fake News Fiasco: German Plan to Fine Facebook, Twitter 'Unenforceable'

    The posts were written in German and other languages, including Arabic, and were aimed at preventing security incidents, similar to those that happened in the city on New Year's Eve two years ago.

    Cologne was one of the hotspots of the notorious mass- sex attacks on women which took place on New Year's Eve 2015. Gangs of men characterized as having Arabic and North African appearances committed sex attacks on women in cities across Germany. More than 1,200 complaints of sexual assault or harassment were made to police in the wake of the celebrations.


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