German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has canceled her trip to the United States amid the ongoing scandal in the army regarding its servicemen’s attitude toward refugees, media reported, citing the minister’s spokesperson.
On Wednesday, a 28-year-old first lieutenant of the German army, identified as Franco A., was detained in the Bavarian town of Hammelburg on suspicion of preparing a crime allegedly aimed at discrediting refugees. According to media reports, the Bundeswehr had proof of the detainee’s far-right views. On Monday, von der Leyen said that the detainee’s commanders knew of his far-right views but did not report them due to a misguided sense of camaraderie.
“For the minister, the clarification of the current events around Lt. Franco A. is the priority,” the spokesperson said, as quoted by Bild newspaper.
According to the prosecution, Franco A. applied for asylum as a Syrian refugee in the German town of Giessen in late 2015, and was subsequently granted asylum, shelter and benefits in January 2016. According to media, during the registration it was not noticed that the “Syrian refugee” was of German descent and did not speak Arabic but only French. He allegedly planned to commit serious crimes to discredit refugees.