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German far-right suspect confesses to killing pro-immigration politician

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Funeral of Kassel District President Walter Luebcke
Funeral of Kassel District President Walter Luebcke -
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A German far-right sympathiser has confessed to murdering a pro-immigration conservative politician, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said on Wednesday.

Walter Luebcke was found lying in a pool of blood outside his home in Hesse on June 2. A Federal prosecutor told members of parliament’s internal affairs committee that Stephan E. had confessed to shooting the politician.

Stephen E, whose full name cannot be published under privacy rules told investigators that he had acted alone, Seehofer said. He was detained on June 15.

Stephen E's DNA had matched forensic samples collected by investigators at the scene.

But the interior minister said the investigation into the “political murder” would continue.

“I want to make clear that for us the investigation has not been completed,” Seehofer told reporters at the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag. “We will work intensively to determine in which environment the suspected culprit operated lately and in recent years.”

The killing has sparked debate about whether Germany has been doing enough to tackle far-right groups since a neo-Nazi cell was discovered in 2011.

Members of the National Socialist Underground (NSU), murdered eight Turks, a Greek man and a German policewoman from 2000 to 2007.

Reforms have been introduced since the cell was discovered, which include closer coordination between agencies and regions.

Luebcke, who was the head of the regional government of Kassel, had become an online hate figure on far-right websites during Chancellor Angela Merkel's 2015 decision to welcome a million refugees during the height of the migration crisis.

Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), which Luebcke was a member of, have said the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) must share blame for the Luebcke murder. The CDU accuses the far-right party of legitimising a language of hate that encourages political violence.

The AFD has rejected those claims and said its members were the victims of left-wing violence.

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