German politician convicted for 'inciting hatred' after posting government statistics of sexual assault by Afghan migrants

A young politician who is a member of Germany’s right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party was convicted for citing gang rape statistics connected with Afghan migration into the country. 

The incident initially took place in August 2021, when weeks before the country’s federal and state elections, Rotenburg AfD leader Marie-Therese Kaiser used government statistics to explain that Afghan immigrants have been disproportionately liable for committing sexual violence against women and young girls. Kaiser posted these statistics after it was revealed that Afghan migrant workers would be relocated to Hamburg.

“Afghanistan refugees; Hamburg SPD mayor for ‘unbureaucratic’ admission; Welcoming culture for gang rape?” Kaiser initially posted on social media, referring to an interview by Social Democratic Party politician and Hamburg Mayor Peter Tschentsche who had been campaigning for the relocation of Afghan workers who were threatened by the Taliban. 

Kaiser went on to state that there was a threat to German women by “culturally alien masses.” She then referenced a series of articles that cited government statistics showing that Afghan migrants were disproportionately carrying out sex crimes in the country.

According to police data from 2020, as reported by Free Speech Union, there were 677 reported gang rapes in Germany. This number is an over 100% increase from the number of reported incidents in 2018. Non-German citizens were suspected in half of these cases. 

419,000 Afghans were residing in Germany in 2023, over 380,000 of whom were previously Afghan citizens.

Kaiser’s initial judgment by the courts came in 2023 when the Rotenburg District Court determined that she had taken this information out of context and therefore her actions could be perceived as inciting hatred. She was ordered to pay fines totaling $6,000 and was left with a criminal record. 

“Simply naming numbers, dates and facts is to be declared a criminal offense, just because the establishment does not want to face reality. I will not allow myself to be silenced,” she posted on X during the appeal processing. 

Despite attempting to appeal the decision, a regional court affirmed the initial judgment, resulting in Kaiser being found guilty once again.

“Anyone who attacks human dignity cannot invoke freedom of expression,” Judge Halbfas wrote in her appeals case.

The conviction of Kaiser has left many to criticize the clear violation of free speech that the German courts are engaging in. Even Elon Musk, CEO of X, weighed in on the matter, questioning the basis for Kaiser's conviction.

“Are you saying the fine was for repeating accurate government statistics? Was there anything inaccurate in what she said?” Musk posted on X.

Image: Title: AfD