New suspects questioned in stabbing of German police chief

18th December 2008, Comments 0 comments

Both suspects were known to police for connections to Germany's right-wing scene.

Passau -- German police Wednesday quizzed a married couple in connection with the stabbing of a police chief who has been vilified by neo-Nazis.

Alois Mannichl, 52, chief of police in the southern German city of Passau, survived the Saturday attack outside his home by a shaven- headed man who yelled neo-Nazi abuse at him, then left with a getaway driver.

A 33-year-old man and his wife, aged 22, were picked up on Tuesday after police apparently traced the getaway car to them. Both suspects were known to police for connections to Germany's right-wing scene.

German media reports said the suspects, who hail from Munich, had been seen by witnesses in the vicinity of the police official's house before the incident.

The assailant reportedly used Mannichl's own knife in the attack. It had been left outside the door of the Mannichl home for neighborhood children to cut slices of cake for themselves.

Police suspect the police chief was targeted because Passau police have kept local neo-Nazis under tight scrutiny.

Mannichl had been criticized on websites popular with neo-Nazis. The rightists, who term themselves German nationalists, claim they were being harassed.

There are around 31,000 members of extreme right-wing groups in Germany, about 10,000 of whom are prepared to resort to violence, according to the domestic intelligence agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

The violence, with its implication that rightists are willing to attack public officials, has led to calls this week to outlaw Germany's main far right group, the National Democratic Party (NPD).

An earlier attempt to ban the anti-foreigner party was quashed by Germany's top court in 2003.

German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries was quoted in a newspaper interview on Wednesday as saying she did not believe there was sufficient evidence to mount a new legal challenge against the NPD.


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