The German Parliament is Lifting Immunity Over the Prosecution of a Far-right Lawmaker - Latest Global News

The German Parliament is Lifting Immunity Over the Prosecution of a Far-right Lawmaker

BERLIN (AP) — German lawmakers on Thursday lifted the immunity of one of the far-right Alternative for Germany party’s top candidates in the upcoming European election as he is under investigation.

The lower house of the German parliament, the Bundestag, voted for the repeal Petr Bystron‘s immunity to clear the way for searches related to the investigation. The members of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) abstained from voting.

The Munich public prosecutor’s office said it was investigating a member of the Bundestag on “initial suspicion” of corruption and money laundering, without providing further details. They did not want to name the lawmaker, but the German news agency dpa and other media reported that it was Bystron.

According to the public prosecutor’s office, properties in Berlin, Bavaria and on the Spanish island of Mallorca were searched on Thursday and documents and other evidence were confiscated.

Bystron is currently a member of the German Bundestag, but is number 1 there. Second place on his party’s list for the European elections in June. Last month he denied allegations in a Czech newspaper that he may have received money from a pro-Russian network.

The AfD’s two parliamentary group leaders, Alice Weidel and Tino Chrupalla, said in a joint statement that the lifting of Bystron’s immunity and the searches of his home and offices were “a serious event” and that no evidence had yet been provided to support the allegations against him have been.

They said that the AfD parliamentary group hoped that the investigation would be concluded quickly so that the impression of official influence on the election campaign for the European Parliament would not arise.

The investigation adds to events that cast an unflattering light on the AfD, which has enjoyed strong support in recent months.

Last month, an assistant to Maximilian Krah, a member of the European Parliament and the top candidate on the AfD list for next month’s elections, was arrested on suspicion of spying for China. The German government and mainstream opposition politicians have attacked the party over its alleged proximity to Russia and China.

On Monday, a court ruled that the German domestic secret service had rightly placed the party under surveillance on suspicion of extremism. The AfD has portrayed the designation as a political attempt to discredit the party and said it would seek to appeal.

And on Tuesday, another court ruled in a separate case that Björn Höcke, the head of an AfD state association and one of the party’s best-known figures, had knowingly used a Nazi slogan in a speech and ordered him to pay a fine.

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