German authorities investigating neo-Nazi cell inside police force

German authorities investigating neo-Nazi cell inside police force

Authorities in Germany have opened a probe into five officers suspected of running a neo-Nazi cell within the Frankfurt police force, allegedly sending threats to “slaughter” a lawyer’s two-year-old daughter after using confidential data on police computers to locate her.

The investigation began in August after an anonymous fax was sent to Seda Basay-Yildiz, a German-Turkish lawyer who rose to prominence representing victims of neo-Nazi hate crimes and violence.

The fax, which was sent to Basay-Yildiz’s law firm, warned her to leave Germany or risk her daughter being “slaughtered,” according to the Frankfurter Neue Presse, a German newspaper with whom she shared a copy of the threatening message.

The note included Basay-Yildiz’s home address and the name of her daughter. It was signed “NSU 2.0,” which police believe to be a reference to the National Socialist Underground (NSU), a German neo-Nazi terror cell responsible for the murder of at least 10 people between 2000 and 2007, nine of whom were Turkish immigrants.

Basay-Yildiz represented two of the NSU’s victims at the trial of the last remaining NSU member, Beate Zschäpe, who received a life sentence this year, according to The Guardian.

Basay-Yildiz told the Frankfurter Neue Presse that she is used to receiving death threats from far-right extremists, sometimes receiving as many as 50 in a day.

She added that while she normally ignores them, the threat mentioning her daughter and address made her feel that “this time it went too far.”

“I couldn’t figure out where the author of the letter got this information from. That’s why I turned to the police,” she said.

According to The Telegraph, an internal police investigation found that Basay-Yildiz’s confidential information, as well as her private address, had been accessed from a computer inside the Frankfurt police department.

Investigators believed her information had to be obtained by an officer, as they would’ve been the only ones with access to a police database, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Prosecutors then seized hard drives and cell phones from five officers, which uncovered a group message board via WhatsApp where the officers regularly exchanged pictures of Hitler and other illegal Nazi imagery, as well as far-right and racist messages.

All five officers have been suspended from duty as the probe continues.

Police are also looking into similar incidents involving threats to other lawyers representing clients accused of Islamic extremism, although investigators have not determined whether those threats are from the same group.

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