German police have arrested a man on suspicion of sending dozens of threatening letters to politicians, lawyers and journalists.
The letters contained “hateful, insulting and threatening content” and were signed with the acronym of a neo-Nazi group, officials said on Tuesday
A 53-year-old suspect was detained after a search of his apartment in the capital city Berlin, prosecutors said.
The unemployed man accused of being behind the campaign has previous convictions for “numerous crimes, including ones motivated by right-wing ideology,” prosecutors said.
Police say the suspect had sent almost 100 letters to people and organisations across Germany and Austria since August 2018.
The letters were mainly addressed to public figures known for their commitment against racism and anti-Semitism, as well as to immigrants themselves.
Threats were written under the pseudonym NSU 2.0 – a reference to the far-right National Socialist Underground movement that was responsible for a string of violent crimes and assassinations between 1998 and 2011.
Calls for justice are mounting for John Heredia, a municipal administrator of Pilar, Capiz and a former journalist who was murdered in broad daylight in Roxas City Sunday.
“We call for a thorough investigation and a swift resolution of the case,” said the National Union of Journalists of the Philippine (NUJP) in a statement.
The 54-year-old Heredia was shot several times in the head by a hooded gunman onboard a motorcycle driven by an accomplice.
“While Heredia was no longer in media when he was killed, his death is a symptom of the culture of impunity in the Philippines,” NUJP pointed out.
Heredia’s killing happened a day prior to World Press Freedom Day. He was a longtime chairperson of the NUJP in Capiz and served in the NUJP national board of directors.
“This is a monstrous crime that must be investigated promptly and properly so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice,” the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUP-Panay chapter) said in a separate statement.
Heredia was the husband of human rights lawyer Criselda Azarcon-Heredia who survived a September 2019 ambush in which gunmen peppered her vehicles with bullets. The wife has been previously red tagged.
The art and cultural community also condemned Heredia’s murder. He was also an artist, musician, and playwright.
Belarusian lawyer Syarhey Zikratski, who has defended independent journalists during the ongoing police crackdown on dissent following a disputed presidential election last year, has left the country for Lithuania after his license to practice law was withdrawn in late March.
Zikratski announced his decision to leave Belarus in a Facebook post on May 3, saying that while abroad he will “do everything” he can “to change the situation in Belarus.”
In an interview with RFE/RL, Zikratski said that he is already in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, along with his wife and two children. He said his family has been under enormous stress since rallies started after the August 9 presidential election that returned authoritarian Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who has run the country since 1994, to power. The opposition says the vote was rigged.
“My departure is not about permanent residence [abroad.] As soon as it is possible to go back to Belarus, we will immediately do so,” Zikratski said, stressing that after his license was withdrawn, he could not continue doing his job.
Zikratski gained prominence in recent months after he defended several independent journalists, including reporters for the BelaPAN and Belsat news agencies, as well as the program director of the Belarusian Press Club, Ala Sharko. All faced prosecution for their coverage of mass demonstrations in which hundreds of thousands of people have demanded Lukashenka’s resignation.
On March 24, a Justice Ministry commission stripped Zikratski of his license, saying that he lacks the proper qualifications. Zikratski’s supporters say the move was made because of his activities, namely defending prominent independent journalists.