A newly elected lawmaker for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has been arrested on suspicion of owning Nazi symbols.
Prosecutors said Daniel Halemba, 22, was arrested in the Stuttgart area and is under investigation on suspicion of incitement and using symbols of unconstitutional organisation, German news agency dpa reported.
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The youngest politician to be elected to the Bavarian parliament, Halemba is a member of the Teutonia Prague student fraternity.
It was raided in September on suspicion that there might be objects featuring Nazi insignia and racist documents on its premises. Officials reported that forbidden symbols were discovered, while neighbours complained of having heard calls of “Sieg Heil” (Hail Victory).
AfD had announced on Friday that an arrest warrant had been issued for one of its deputies. The public prosecutor’s office then confirmed that Halemba was the target.
Four other members of the fraternity are also under investigation.
The prosecutor’s office said the allegations against the lawmaker had been corroborated by further examination of the evidence. Halemba is expected to be brought before a judge in the city of Wuerzburg on Monday or Tuesday at the latest.
Halemba has denied all the allegations. His lawyer, Dubravko Mandi, insisted there is “no truth in any of the accusations”.
During state elections on October 8 in Bavaria and the neighbouring Hesse, the AfD saw significant gains. The anti-migrant party finished third in Bavaria, taking 14.6 percent of the vote.
Recent national polls have put its support at about 20 percent.
Co-leader Alice Weidel said the results showed the party had a right to participate in government and “further exclusion and discrimination would show an undemocratic disregard for voters”.
She added that AfD is “no longer perceived only as a protest party”, and that if the party comes second at national elections in 2025, in line with current opinion poll rankings, it would stake a claim to lead the country.
Members of parliament have immunity in Germany. However, Halemba’s exemption will not take effect until the Bavarian parliament meets for the first time following the election in a plenary session this afternoon.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies