Why do people send hate mail

Day of action against hate postings: Nationwide raid against writers of hate messages

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Many exploit the apparent anonymity of the Internet to let their hatred of other people run wild. Police officers and public prosecutors want to show with a targeted action that this will not remain without consequences.

The police and public prosecutor's office took action on Tuesday with a concerted action across Germany against the authors of hate messages on the Internet. As the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) reported, there were searches in a total of eleven federal states. According to the BKA, 83 apartments and other objects were searched in order to secure criminal devices such as smartphones and laptops. 96 suspects are questioned about their hate comments posted on the Internet.

According to information from the Bavarian State Criminal Police Office (LKA), there were searches of a total of 49 suspects in the Free State. The LKA reported that criminal offenses range from insulting to threats to incitement to hatred. According to the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior, the police registered 149 cases of hate postings in the Free State last year. This was a slight decrease compared to 2018 with 168 cases at the time.

The raid took place as part of an EU-wide day of action to combat hate postings. Such days of action by law enforcement officers have been taking place in Germany since 2016, and Europol was involved in the action for the first time this year. "Today's day of action shows that the supposed anonymity of the Internet is no protection for criminals," said Bavaria's LKA President Harald Pickert.

In a communication from the BKA it was said: "Hate, exclusion and the call to violence must be able to be countered on the Internet with the same legal means as in the analogue world". A central office for combating hate crime on the Internet is therefore being set up in the BKA. According to the BKA, on the basis of the planned reporting obligation for telemedia service providers, the incoming information should first be checked for its criminal relevance, "before the authors of criminal content are identified and consistently held accountable".

Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht explained: "The consistent action of the police and judiciary serves to protect all people who are threatened and defamed online. Enemies of people and democracy stir up a dangerous climate of violence. Words can become deeds." Anyone who rushes and threatens must expect charges and convictions. The hatred hits Jews, Muslims, refugees, politically active people - and among all these women especially often, up to and including disgusting threats of rape. "I would like to encourage those affected by hate postings to consistently file criminal charges so that these acts can be prosecuted," said the SPD politician.

acr / LTO editorial team

with materials from the dpa