Prosecutors have confirmed that an Iraqi national, detained for three weeks after a stabbing incident in Chemnitz, Germany, which left one local man dead, has been released. Another suspect, a Syrian national, remains in custody.
The 22-year-old, identified only as Yousif A., was one of two men detained after a 35-year-old German man was fatally stabbed in a brawl with migrants late in August. Another suspect, a Syrian national, remains in custody. A third migrant, sought after the incident, has not been located.
While Yousif A. admitted he was at the scene of the deadly incident, he claimed he only observed the brawl. His account was supported by the testimonies of eyewitnesses, German broadcaster NDR reported last week.
The stabbing in Chemnitz triggered a wave of far-right and right-wing rallies, some of which escalated into skirmishes between riot police and protesters, resulting in multiple arrests and injuries. The right-wing rallies were also met with counter protests from the left, who opposed the “hatred” against the migrants. The rival protesters clashed with each other on several occasions.
Anti-immigrant protests increased after another incident in Kothen, in early September, when a local man died after a scuffle with a group of Afghans. The cause of death was heart failure, according to prosecutors. Two migrants were detained.
Chemnitz protests have also caused a few political scandals in Germany. Hans-Georg Maassen, Germany’s domestic security chief, has come under fire for questioning media reports on far-right protesters chasing down foreigners during the rallies.
Initially he said that there was no real proof the videos were genuine. Facing a storm of criticism from left-leaning pro-immigrant politicians, Maassen retracted his statement, accepting that the videos were genuine, yet still remained suspicious about media interpretation of the footage.
The controversial remarks might actually cost the head of Germany’s BfV agency his post. According to recent media reports, Chancellor Angela Merkel is determined to sack Maassen for interfering with the policies of the cabinet.
Another German politician who got himself in hot water over the response to the Chemnitz protest is Interior Minister Horst Seehofer. Following the rallies, which had already turned violent, the official said he would have joined the protests himself, if he was not a minister. Seehofer stressed, however, that he would not protest side-by-side with “radicals.”
The official also said that the Chemnitz events have clearly shown that the immigration is the “mother of all political problems,” plaguing the country. The remark angered pro-immigration politicians and NGOs who urged him to either take the “right-wing threat” seriously, or