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    German man sentenced to prison for sending threats

    BERLIN (AP) – A German man was sentenced on Thursday to nearly six years in prison for sending threatening letters to politicians, lawyers and journalists signed with the acronym of an extremist group.

    A court in Frankfurt found the 54-year-old man guilty on a range of charges including inciting crime, inciting hatred, disturbing the peace, issuing threats, and assaulting a law enforcement officer, according to the news agency dpa.

    The man, who was identified only as Alexander M in keeping with German privacy rules, received five years and 10 months in prison, dpa reported.

    Starting in 2018, Alexander M sent dozens of letters via email, fax and SMS message to individuals across Germany and Austria.

    The letters were signed “NSU 2.0”, using an acronym for an extemist group called the National Socialist Underground, NSU.

    The defendant and alleged author of ‘NSU 2.0’ threatening letters arrives in court in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany. PHOTO: AFP

    The NSU was responsible for a string of violent crimes between 1998 and 2011, including the racially motivated killings of nine men with immigrant backgrounds and a police officer.

    Among those who received the letters were Frankfurt-based human rights lawyer Seda Basay-Yildiz, entertainer Jan Boehmermann and television moderator Maybrit Illner.

    Alexander M denied sending the letters at the trial, dpa reported. He said they were on his computer because of his membership in a chat group on the dark web.

    The case comes as German security agencies have been warning of the growing threat of violent far-right extremism.

    A series of high-profile attacks have also drawn attention to the issue in recent years.

    In July 2019, a regional politician from former Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party was killed by an extemist.

    And in early 2020, a right-wing extremist killed nine people of immigrant backgrounds at two entertainment venues in central Germany.

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