Police graves destroyed, defaced with swastikas in Berlin

Vandals spray-painted swastikas on the Berlin graves of two German police officers killed in the line of duty, sparking outrage Wednesday, and an investigation by the domestic security service.

Police graves destroyed, defaced with swastikas in Berlin
The markings on the graves were later covered up by police. Image: DPA

One gravestone was toppled over, both were defaced with red spray paint, and flowers were ripped out of their beds in the overnight attack on a cemetery in the Berlin district of Neukölln.

The late officers are Roland Krueger, a police commando member shot dead during a 2003 raid on a Kurdish-Lebanese crime family, and Uwe Lieschied, shot dead while confronting a robber on the street in 2006.

The interior minister of the city-state of Berlin, Andreas Geisel, voiced his “disgust and shame” about the violation of the graves, which he described as “a wicked act directed against those who died while working to ensure our safety.”

Other police officers restored the graves in the morning, while the BfV domestic security service took over the case because of the illegal Nazi symbol.

Tributes laid on graves

The Christian Democrat politician's Burkard Dregger lay flowers on the desecrated graves on Wednesday afternoon, telling the Berlin Tagespiegel that he was there to honour the memories of the fallen officers. 

“I have no sympathy for such acts of hatred,” Dregger said 

“It was important to me, on behalf of the CDU Group, to plant flowers and talk with relatives. (I wanted) to assure them that we feel very close to them and that we are always with each other to stand by the police if attacked,” he said.

The incident was not the only recent example of desecration of police officers being targeted in the cemetery. 

In November 2016, a plaque commemorating officer Lieschied was damaged by unknown vandals. Later, left-wing extremists admitted to the crime, declaring “We mock dead police officers.”

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Denmark convicts man over bomb joke at airport

A Danish court on Thursday gave a two-month suspended prison sentence to a 31-year-old Swede for making a joke about a bomb at Copenhagen's airport this summer.

Denmark convicts man over bomb joke at airport

In late July, Pontus Wiklund, a handball coach who was accompanying his team to an international competition, said when asked by an airport agent that
a bag of balls he was checking in contained a bomb.

“We think you must have realised that it is more than likely that if you say the word ‘bomb’ in response to what you have in your bag, it will be perceived as a threat,” the judge told Wiklund, according to broadcaster TV2, which was present at the hearing.

The airport terminal was temporarily evacuated, and the coach arrested. He later apologised on his club’s website.

“I completely lost my judgement for a short time and made a joke about something you really shouldn’t joke about, especially in that place,” he said in a statement.

According to the public prosecutor, the fact that Wiklund was joking, as his lawyer noted, did not constitute a mitigating circumstance.

“This is not something we regard with humour in the Danish legal system,” prosecutor Christian Brynning Petersen told the court.