The relatives of victims in a racist terror attack in Germany last year voiced shock on Thursday after it was revealed that 13 police officers being investigated for extremist far-right chat messages were also deployed during the night of the massacre.
"It is far worse than we had feared," the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper quoted Newroz Duman as saying. Duman is representing the families and relatives of the nine people who were brutally murdered in the south German town of Hanau on Feb 19, 2020 with racist motives.
After the attack, the Hanau-born perpetrator killed his mother and himself.
It must be clarified how the involvement of the 13 SEK officers of the Frankfurt special police unit had an impact on the incident on the night of the crime, Duman said.
On Tuesday, the interior minister of the south German state of Hesse, Peter Beuth, told state lawmakers that 38 officials from the now-dissolved unit had been deployed that night.
Among them were the 13 officers who were "affected by the current allegation," that is, under investigation for participating in a chat group with extremist right-wing content.
They are reportedly being accused of sedition and the use of symbols of unconstitutional organizations.
Germany has been grappling with the problem of right-wing extremism in the ranks of law enforcement.
Last July, authorities arrested a former police officer and his wife suspected of having sent threatening emails to politicians and other public figures across Germany.
The anonymous messages were all signed NSU 2.0, alluding to a German neo-Nazi cell that committed a series of racial killings in the 2000s.
Last year, Germany's Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer also ordered the partial dissolution of elite KSK anti-terror commandos over far-right extremism.