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Germany. MP Berkowicz: AfD politician “convicted for publishing statistics” on immigrants. Not true

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Posts claiming that a German AfD politician was convicted of sharing statistics on sexual assaults committed by Afghan immigrants generate millions of views on social media. This message is spread by, among others, a member of parliament from the Confederation. But that's not true. The German court's judgment was about something else.

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Member of Parliament of the Confederation and number one of the party on the Małopolska list in the European Parliament elections Konrad Berkowicz he wrote On May 13, on his profile on the X platform: “Can you be punished for expressing your opinion? Yes, you can.” And further: “German politician Maria Kaiser was sentenced for publishing – note – true statistics that immigrants commit crimes more often. And apparently we live in the world of freedom of speech – in the European Union…”. The post was accompanied by a photo of the chairwoman of the AfD in Rotenburg (Lower Saxony), 27-year-old Marie-Thérèse Kaiser.

Entry by Konrad Berkowicz from May 13, 2024x.com

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Under the post, which has over 28,000 views, Berkowicz's supporters discussed with people who accused him of lying. “It is not difficult to notice that, day by day, freedom of speech ends more and more where commonly accepted political correctness begins”; “These are the democratic values ​​the center-left talks about”; “Sad reality, censorship, censorship, censorship and slavery” – wrote the former, to which the latter replied: “You seriously think your voters are idiots”; “Since you are a politician, I will not correct this lie. After all, political competitors do the same. Although I must admit I was counting on the confederation as a new quality in politics. Well, as usual, it turned out that politics and honesty do not go hand in hand”; “You didn't even bother to check if it was true, you just gulped it down like a pelican, like a real old man”; “the shopkeeper gives a new fake I didn't know” (original spelling of all posts).

Similar entries also circulated – apart from the German one – on the English-language network. One of the users reported: “German AFD politician Marie-Thérèse Kaiser was convicted and fined over $6,000. Crime? Publishing statistics showing that Afghan immigrants are disproportionately more likely to commit sexual assaults in Germany.” This post had over 66 million views.

This post was shared by the owner of Platform X, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk. “Are you saying that this penalty was imposed for repeating precise government statistics? Was there anything inaccurate in her words?” – he wrote. His entry, in turn, has been viewed over 61 million times.

What was the German court's judgment really about? It expired this month.

What the German court decided

To be precise: on Monday, May 6, when the State Court in Verden (Lower Saxony) decided on the politician's case. It was about a crime with paragraph 130 German Criminal Code – and this paragraph talks about incitement to hatred. In Kaiser's case, it was about inciting hatred against Afghan citizens. German law states that people who incite hatred or violate the dignity of a specific group or person by insulting or defaming may be punished by a fine or imprisonment from three months to five years.

The hearing on May 6 was the result of an appeal against the judgment of the District Court in Rotenburg. The court in Verden upheld the fine of PLN 6,000. euro. The accused herself she informed on social media that this amount corresponds to one hundred daily wages of EUR 60 each – and this means that the politician will have an entry in her criminal records. Kaiser announced that it would appeal against the verdict, which is not final.

When asked in the comments about the reason for the conviction, Kaiser did not say that it was because she had published official statistics, but rather she replied: “I was wrongly convicted for calling all Afghans collective rapists. The court was not interested in anything else.”

The court actually took notice of this. German news portal Kreiszeitung describedthat this is a publication from August 2021 (i.e. shortly before the parliamentary elections held in Germany on September 26, 2021), in which Kaiser responded to the statement of the mayor of Hamburg, Peter Tschentscher, writing (in a now deleted post): “Refugees from Afghanistan ; Mayor of SPD Hamburg for 'unbureaucratic' reception; Culture of welcome for gang rape?

She referred to the fact that the mayor of Hamburg in August 2021, after the Taliban took control of Afghan Kabul, when hundreds of citizens tried to escape from the capital, wrote on website X that “the development (of events) in Afghanistan is dramatic.” He also proposed that Hamburg would accept 200 refugees from this country. A day later, the daily “Die Welt” he reported the mayor's appeals to politicians for a quick admission from Afghanistan, including: people employed in the aid organization Society for International Cooperation or personnel cooperating with the armed forces. The daily reported that AfD politicians were against such actions.

What are the statistics?

During the discussion about migrants from Afghanistan, the German politician actually cited statistics on sexual assaults, but – as noted by the fackt-checking website Leadstories.com – she did it in another post, not in the one covered by the judgment.

The post mentioned by Berkowicz and others spreading the theory that Kaiser was convicted for sharing the statistics is still available online. The politician – when sharing the above-mentioned article from “Die Welt” – did not mention w him about Afghans, she just asked: “Hamburg's welcome culture for gang rapes?” The entry was accompanied by diary information “Hamburger Abendblatt” from June 8, 2021, according to which “one in three inhabitants of Hamburg has foreign roots (…)”. She also attached screenshots from the diary to the entry “Bild” of July 31, 2021 with cited data from the Federal Criminal Office (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA), according to which in 2020, 704 cases of gang rape were recorded in Germany, and every second suspect did not have German citizenship. “Bild” mentioned that male suspects often they came from Islamic countries: Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. He noted, however, that in 2018, 6 percent of the suspects were Afghans, who constitute 0.3 percent of the German population.

Main photo source: Łukasz Gagulski/PAP

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