12:05 GMT +324 July 2019
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    German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a speech at the 60th anniversary of the founding of the German Intelligence Services (BND) in Berlin, Germany

    Sacking of German Domestic Intelligence Chief Punishment for Truth - Analysts

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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to sack domestic intelligence chief and security expert Hans-Georg Maassen was a punishment designed to hide the "truth" about risks of uncontrolled immigration, lawmakers and political commentators told Sputnik.

    Maassen was removed from his job at the helm of the Federal Office for Constitutional Protection (BfV) on Tuesday after suggesting that a viral video apparently showing foreigners being hounded by far-right protesters in the city of Chemnitz might have been fake.

    Maassen’s sacking was demanded by Merkel’s coalition partners in the Social Democrat Party. He was eventually given a higher position of a state secretary under Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, a known critic of the chancellor’s migration policy.

    READ MORE: Chemnitz Riot: Maassen Sacked, Merkel Sticks to Her Migrant Policy — AfD Chair

    "The political decision of punishing Mr. Maassen is unacceptable and spreading fake news about non-existent aggression in the city of Chemnitz is a cheap trick by the federal government to hide the worsening security situation in Germany," Joerg Meuthen, federal spokesman for the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, told Sputnik.

    Meuthen said Maassen was right in denying migrant hunts in the eastern German city after the fatal stabbing of a German man in a brawl with alleged immigrants and the arrests of an Iraqi and a Syrian. The AfD lawmaker claimed they were to be expelled from Germany long ago but stayed because authorities had failed to follow through on their repatriation policy.

    READ MORE: Shameful History: German Domestic Spying Agency's Most Embarrassing Scandals

    Dietmar Bartsch, the parliamentary group leader for the left-wing Die Linke party, told Sputnik the former spy chief’s new job was a sinecure where he would have nothing to do.

    Marc Felix Serrao, a political commentator and Berlin correspondent for the Swiss Neue Zuercher Zeitung, described to Sputnik Merkel’s decision as "culmination of a smear campaign."

    "He made an unfortunate statement. That's all. All those who were screaming for resignation are in error. Since taking office in security, Maassen had built an excellent reputation. Hans-Georg Maassen was one of the first in the political machinery of the Federal Republic to warn against the effects of massive and uncontrolled immigration," Serrao said.

    The row over alleged violence in Chemnitz, following a month of protests, shows continued divisions on migration in Germany after Merkel announced her open-door asylum policy in 2015. It remains a pressing issue ahead of October polls in Bavaria, the country’s largest state.

    The views and opinions expressed by the speakers do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    migrant crisis, protests, migrants, German Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Alternative for Germany (AfD), Hans-Georg Maassen, Angela Merkel, Germany
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