Vigilante ‘Justice’ Targets Europe’s Migrants

More disturbing news from Europe:

Bürgerwehr has become a dirty and irritating word to the German authorities, especially since the New Year’s sex assaults in Cologne last year prompted a rash of vigilantism.

“It is not for Bürgerwehren or self-appointed hobby sheriffs to play at being the police,” Minister of Justice Heiko Maas warned last year, pointedly calling out those who were clicking “attend,” or otherwise loudly making plans to start patrolling neighborhoods at night, apparently on a mission to “bring back order” to inner cities.

Most of those announcements ended up being a lot of talk with little action. Still, gang violence in its most basic form seems to have taken on new inspiration: Last fall, a gang of four beat a 41-year-old acquaintance to death in front of a disco in provincial Waldbröl after getting drunk one night and going into town with baseball bats and some sort of vague plan to “hunt refugees.” Asked to explain the motive in court, one of the accused claimed that he was taking revenge for a girl who had been harassed.

In the United States, they used to call this lynching, with the reasons given often very much the same. And Germany isn’t the only European country that’s had trouble with self-appointed “hobby sheriffs” inventing themselves as “migrant hunters.” Finland has the anti-immigrant street patrol group Soldiers of Odin. And along the southern Bulgarian land border to Turkey there have been numerous incidents of vigilante groups detaining migrants, beating and humiliating them—and sometimes making a show of it in the process.

This year, prosecutors tried and failed to charge 31-year-old Peter Nizamov for “arresting“ three Afghan migrants, in the sense that he and his gang (they call themselves “Civil Squads for the Protection of Women and Faith”) cornered the three travelers, proceeded to rob them and beat them, then tied them up and shouted at them, in broken English, to go back to Turkey.

The state attorney should have had an easy time getting a six-year prison sentence for Nizamov. There was no question about the facts. He had posted a video of the event on Facebook, probably anticipating that it would be a great hit with his followers. And it was. Indeed, the flurry of “likes” was predictable—Bulgaria is mainly a transit country for refugees heading to Northern Europe, and the government itself has taken a harsh line on immigration, using the kind of rhetoric usually reserved for far-right fringe parties.

Then, in March this year, the court decided to acquit Nizamov. The police, who likely expected he would just brag the way he did when he gave an interview to national broadcaster bTV while under house arrest and confess to the charges, had done a sloppy job in gathering evidence: They hardly even bothered (and failed) to find the three Afghans to come to court and testify. And the TV confession was not replicated in court.

Source: Vigilante ‘Justice’ Targets Europe’s Migrants