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Germany: Law against "hate crime" on the Internet comes into force at Easter

Berlin - Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) has praised the law against so-called "hate crime" on the Internet, which will come into force on April 3, as protection for all people who are threatened and insulted online. “From now on, the police and the judiciary can act much more decisively against inhuman agitation. We are significantly increasing deterrence and the pressure to investigate. Anyone who incites and threatens must expect charges and convictions,” she said. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier signed the law on Tuesday.

From Easter onwards, insults on the Internet face up to two years in prison. For threats of murder or rape, the sentence will be up to three years in future. Anti-Semitic motives are seen as aggravating the punishment. From February of next year, operators of social media will not only have to delete relevant posts, they will also have to report them to the Federal Criminal Police Office.

Lambrecht complained that the waves of hatred were even more aggressive in the pandemic than before. "The agitation is very often right-wing extremist, racist and misogynist. It is a serious threat to our democratic society when people are attacked because of their name or their appearance - or are silenced because they express themselves politically, scientifically or socially. "

Hamburg police are demanding more posts
The signing was previously delayed by the Federal President. This had stopped the law because of requirements of the Federal Constitutional Court. The judges had initially criticized that companies such as Facebook and Twitter had to report so-called hate comments.

The law had already called for additional posts in the Hamburg police and public prosecutor's office last summer. The State Criminal Police Office (LKA) assumed that more than 50 additional police officers and police employees were needed.

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