Number of murders by foreigners is on the rise in Germany, new police figures of closed murder cases reveal amid anti-immigrant protests and counter-rallies in Chemnitz.
A total of 731 homicides were registered in Germany last year. In at least 83 of the cases, law enforcement identified at least one non-German suspect, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) revealed to Welt am Sonntag. While the BKA’s numbers fail to specify the nationality of the suspects, the new figures show that cases involving a “non-German” suspect rose significantly in 2017, compared to 62 cases registred in the previous year.
The figure was at its lowest point in 2015 with 52 cases. The numbers, however, could not be tracked down earlier than 2013, when police began counting these stats, Welt reports.
The release comes at a tense time for Germany. Over the past week, the debate over Germany’s ‘Open Door’ migrant policy has centered around the eastern city of Chemnitz, where anti-immigrant protesters have rallied over a knife attack in which a German man was allegedly killed by Iraqi and Syrian asylum seekers.
Rallies led by anti-immigrant AfD (Alternative for Germany), anti-Islam PEGIDA, and right-wing group ‘For Chemnitz’ have so far led to clashes with counter-protesters defending the right for asylum seekers to stay.
As thousands of people gathered for an anti-racism concert in Chemnitz on Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans to speak out against hate.
“These people who march and are prone to violence – some have also shamelessly shown their closeness to Nazism – they stand neither for Chemnitz nor for Saxony overall, nor are they ‘the people,’” her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said.
Foreign nationals have also been implicated in a number of high-profile terrorist attacks in recent years in Germany. In 2016, a Tunisian asylum seeker drove a truck through a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people. The same year, a Syrian refugee detonated a bomb outside a bar in Ansbach, and a refugee from Afghanistan, armed with a hatchet and a knife, attacked passengers on a train in Wurzburg. In 2017, an asylum seeker from Palestine went on a stabbing spree in Hamburg, killing one and injuring several others. Authorities have been warning that the terrorist threat remains high and will likely remain so in the foreseeable future.