Zoom Image

Lina E. with her lawyer Erkan Zünbül in court in Dresden on May 31


Jens Schlueter / AFP

After the Dresden verdict against the student Lina E. for attacks on right-wing extremists, Thuringia's President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Stephan Kramer, has warned that the scene could become radicalized. "We are experiencing a growing radicalization and acceptance of the most brutal violence among left-wing extremists," Kramer told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND). "This acceptance includes violence against people with the aim of intimidating them. And it applies to political opponents as well as representatives of the state.«

Kramer described the verdict of the Higher Regional Court of Dresden against Lina E. and three other left-wing extremists as an "important signal of the rule of law". It shows that he is consistently taking action against criminal offences. Immediately after the verdict, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) and Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) welcomed the court's decision and warned of the consequences of vigilante justice.

The court had sentenced 28-year-old Lina E. on Wednesday to five years and three months in prison for several attacks on right-wing extremists. Three co-accused men received prison sentences of up to three years and three months. The court considered it proven that the defendants were involved in or at least supported several attacks on actual and alleged neo-Nazis in Wurzen, Leipzig and Eisenach in Thuringia between 2018 and 2020. Several people were injured, some seriously.

The fact that Lina E. was initially released under registration conditions is criticized by the chairman of the police union, Jochen Kopelke. "This triggers absolute head-shaking among us police officers," he tells the RND. In the protests after the verdict, the police had also "come into the focus of the extremists", as the events of the night had shown. I am shocked by the brutal attacks on police officers."

Saxony's Interior Minister Armin Schuster (CDU) announced further investigations. The verdict has a strong signal effect regardless of the amount and shows that "left-wing extremist violence will not be tolerated," he said. The investigation makes it clear that the four convicts did not act alone. We will continue to investigate, uncover the network and are confident that we will be able to bring other offenders to justice." The verdict was "a wake-up call for the left-wing extremist scene not to go into hiding and continue the spiral of violence, but to moderate itself and return to the ground of non-violent democratic discourse."

"A clear signal of a functioning state based on the rule of law"

The German Police Union (DPolG) sees a "clear signal of a functioning constitutional state". The judiciary was not intimidated by their months-long threats, said DPolG national chairman Rainer Wendt, according to a statement. The prison sentences were "appropriate and correct". As the bearer of the state's monopoly on the use of force, the police, but also the judiciary and the prison system, are the focus of violent left-wing extremists.

The supporters' association Rote Hilfe (Göttingen) also spoke of a "political scandal" with reference to an "absolutely thin" evidence. The aim of the trial was "from the outset" to criminalize and imprison the defendants "on behalf of the anti-fascist movement," the federal office said in a statement. Thus, questionable evidence had been interpreted to the detriment of the accused and exculpatory material had been systematically ignored. The verdict represents "a clear tightening of political justice."

The co-chairman of the Green Youth, Timon Dzienus, also questioned the verdict, calling it "scandalous" and a farce. With a completely exaggerated process based on questionable circumstantial evidence, Lina E. and other leftists are being dealt with with all severity," he wrote on Twitter. He referred to a significantly lower sentence for two defendants from the right-wing extremist scene, who were accused by a court of attacking and seriously injuring two journalists.

Christian Democratic Union (CDU) member of parliament Christoph de Vries criticized Dzienus' remarks on Twitter. "No distance to violence and left-wing extremist criminals. I think the Green Youth has a real extremism problem," he wrote. Such a spokesman would be intolerable in any democratic youth party." He called on the Greens to act.

On Saturday, the left-wing scene is mobilizing nationwide for a "Day X demo" in Leipzig. The police are preparing for a large-scale operation. In an Internet portal classified by the security authorities as left-wing extremist, autonomous groups were also threatened with millions of dollars in property damage nationwide for each year.