‘A hunt against the democratic-patriotic opposition’ – AfD state chairman Höcke targeted with indictment over ‘hate speech’

File---Picture taken May 1, 2019, shows Thuringia's AfD faction leader Björn Höcke attending a rally in Erfurt, Germany. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
By John Cody
3 Min Read

Alternative for Germany (AfD) state chairman for Thuringia and parliamentary group leader Björn Höcke is being targeted with a “hate speech” indictment after the state parliament lifted his immunity for the seventh time.

The AfD party has long faced intense repression from the German state, including monitoring of politicians’ and members’ emails and phone calls, police raids, and even ongoing attempts to ban the party. However, as the party has risen in popularity in the polls, pressure has only grown.

Höcke contends that the prosecution was “the preliminary climax of a hunt against a prominent representative of the democratic-patriotic opposition in the country.”

The AfD state boss also spoke of an “abusive use of criminal charges, waivers of immunity and processes against legal and legitimate opposition members.”

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Normally, German politicians enjoy immunity; however, at the request of the public prosecutor’s office in Halle, the Thuringian state parliament lifted Höcke’s immunity for the seventh time.

The prosecutor accuses Höcke of “incitement of the people” for using “hate speech” with the phrase “Everything for Germany” during an election rally speech in 2021. The same phrase was engraved on SA daggers, seen as the brown shirt wing of the National Socialists. However, Höcke denied that the phrase had anything to do with Hitler and his movement, saying that he was referring to the AfD’s campaign motto in Saxony-Anhalt: “Everything for our homeland.”

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Höcke stated that in the entire speech, there was not even “the slightest NS (National Socialism) reference to be found.”

The AfD is particularly strong in the German state of Thuringia, and Höcke is seen as one of the more right-leaning leaders in a party known for its strict stance against mass immigration.

Höcke also made specific accusations about the prosecutor’s investigation, saying they are fishing around for information on him completely unrelated to the investigation: “How can it be that the public prosecutor’s office in Halle had the police in Thuringia conduct witness interviews with my employees, current and former state executive board members, who explicitly asked questions that did not contribute at all to clarifying the facts?”

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