Pre-trial detention of Antifas from Germany and Italy extended

Article by Matthias Monroy for the German newspaper nd

In their criminal investigations against German activists, Hungarian authorities are supported by the police and judiciary in Germany. State criminal investigation offices have carried out house searches in Berlin, Leipzig and Jena for this purpose.

Antifa activists arrested for attacks on suspected neo-Nazis remain in custody in Budapest. This was confirmed on Monday by a court in the Hungarian capital after a detention review. The two are suspected of taking part in four separate incidents surrounding the so-called “Day of Honor” in February this year. Eight people are said to have been injured, three of them seriously, over a period of three days. Three of those attacked are described as Hungarian, three others as Polish and two as German citizens. One of them is said to belong to the far-right New Strength Party (NSP) in Erfurt, according to the tabloid “Bild”.

Shortly after the “Day of Honor,” Hungarian police arrested a 29-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman from Germany and a 38-year-old Italian woman for the acts. In addition, a 42-year-old Hungarian woman is suspected by authorities of involvement. A search is underway for other German suspects, who are believed to be from Leipzig and Jena, among other places.

The “Day of Honor”, held annually in Budapest since 1997, is a showcase for neo-Nazis from all over Europe. Participants pay homage to the German Waffen-SS, the Wehrmacht and their Hungarian collaborators. Together, these troops had tried to escape from a Red Army encirclement around the capital in a suicidal action at the end of World War II on February 11, 1945.

Among the initiators of the march are said to be the British Nationalist Front and a Hungarian offshoot of the Blood and Honour network, which is banned in Germany. According to reports, this year’s event was organized by the Legion Hungária, Hammerskins and other far-right groups from Hungary. The march features openly fascist symbols, including flags, SS runes or the “Hitler salute.” Neo-Nazis of the fascist Legion Hungária are also said to have hunted down leftists on this year’s “Day of Honor.” In addition, there are reports of attacks on journalists and Jewish people.

In Germany, the Springer press and the right wing party AfD in particular have made the Budapest incidents a topic of discussion and used them for a smear campaign against a supposedly strengthening international “left-wing extremism”. In this context, the names and pictures of the suspects are also published and they are described as “hammer gang”. Video footage published on the Internet is said to show the incidents. Among other things, it depicts groups approaching the suspected neo-Nazis, attacking them with batons and similar tools and then spraying them with irritant gas.

After a detention and registration check, the Hungarian judiciary ordered the release of the 26-year-old from Germany before the end of February. However, she remains under investigation for “preparation of a criminal offense.” According to a German solidarity group, the Italian-born detainee is accused of “violence against a community,” which is punishable by up to eight years in prison under the Hungarian penal code. She is also alleged to have participated in the “formation of a criminal organization.” Tobias E., who is also still in custody, is also charged with this offense. The sentence for this in Hungary is up to five years in prison.

According to various media reports, a total of up to nine Germans are said to have taken part in the crimes. One of them is said to be Johann G., who has been identified by the Saxon “Linx Special Commission”. He is described as the fiancé of Lina E., who was convicted in the “Antifa East” trial in early June. G. has been in hiding since 2020 and is wanted by the Federal Prosecutor General’s Office with an international arrest warrant.

In their investigations against the Antifa activists, the Hungarian police is being assisted from Germany. Following a request for assistance from Budapest, the relevant state criminal investigation departments carried out house searches in Berlin, Leipzig and Jena in February and March.

On February 16, 2023, just days after the incidents in Budapest, the “Central Office for Extremism in Saxony” of the Dresden Prosecutor General’s Office initiated preliminary proceedings for “dangerous bodily harm” against four women and three men. Since March 7, the agency has been “in contact with the Hungarian law enforcement authorities,” according to the Saxon state government’s response to an AfD parliamentary question. In the process, files from the “Antifa East” proceedings were apparently also transmitted to the Hungarian authorities, as “nd” learned.

In addition, the Prosecutor General’s Office in Berlin is investigating the suspects, who come from the capital, on charges of dangerous bodily harm.

In its response to a parliamentary question posed by the AfD parliamentary group in April of this year, the German government described the “brutality of the acts” as “extremely worrying”. It said the incidents in Budapest were viewed in the context of a pattern of offenses previously observed in Germany in particular. “Concrete indications of currently existing left-wing terrorist structures are not yet available,” it continues.

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