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German far-right party fires official over migrant comment

International

FILE – In this Monday, Oct. 15, 2018 file photo Christian Lueth of the Alternative for Germany party attends a press conference in Berlin, Germany, the day after the state elections in the German state of Bavaria. The far-right Alternative for Germany party confirmed Monday Sept. 28, 2020, they have fired Christian Lueth, following reports that he made comments suggesting that migrants could be killed. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, file)

BERLIN (AP) — The far-right Alternative for Germany party has fired a prominent official following reports that he made comments suggesting that migrants could be killed.

The party confirmed Monday that Christian Lueth, who was already suspended from his post as parliamentary spokesman in April after allegedly describing himself as a “fascist,” had his contract terminated with immediate effect.

German media reported that Lueth told a young blogger in February that the worse off Germany is, the better it would be for his party, and that migrants coming to the country “could still be shot later on (…) or gassed.”

The meeting was secretly filmed by broadcaster ProSieben for a documentary to be aired Monday about Germany’s far right. The speaker’s face wasn’t shown in the footage but weekly Die Zeit reported that it was Lueth.

Lueth’s party, known by its German acronym AfD, has campaigned vociferously against immigration and saw a surge in support when hundreds of thousands of refugees were allowed to come into Germany in 2015. It is currently the largest opposition party in the national legislature.

Lueth declined to comment, saying he planned to issue a statement Tuesday.

AfD has come under heightened scrutiny from Germany’s domestic intelligence agency amid concern that some factions are flirting with extremism, a charge the party denies.

On Monday, AfD’s parliamentary caucus in the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg kicked out lawmaker Stefan Raepple after he reportedly called for the violent overthrow of the government.

Last week, the party’s caucuses in two northern state assemblies split amid infighting between members.

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