E Europe

Walter Lübcke: Police question man over mysterious death of German politician

CDU’s Walter Lübcke was found with a gunshot wound to his head on the terrace of his home.

One person has been detained and released in connection with the shooting of the German politician, which shocked the country a week ago.

Lübcke, 65, a district president in the central German state of Hesse for Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), was found dead in his garden last Saturday night.

A man was placed under ‘provisional arrest’ after police analysed data on Lübcke’s mobile phone, but he was released in the early hours of Sunday. “The questioning did not yield any evidence pointing to the complicity in the crime”, a police spokesman said.

The German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, says the detainee was a ‘younger man’ who said he was in a ‘private relationship’ with the victim.

Lübcke was a leading member of the ruling centre-right CDU in the central German state of Hesse, running the authority in one of its three areas for the past decade.

Police ruled out suicide, raising fears his shooting was politically motivated because of death threats made after he stood up to the far right in the past.

He received death threats following his comments, and his private address was published on the far-right blog PI News. Footage of his remarks was shared by right-wing bloggers in February this year.

Far-right accounts on social media celebrated Lübcke’s death in the days after the news emerged, drawing condemnation from across the political spectrum.

“If someone is so hated, just because he had liberal views, that is the decline of human morality”, Germany’s interior minister, Horst Seehofer, told the newspaper Tagesspiegel.  

His body was found at 00:30 on Sunday morning (22:30 GMT Saturday) on the terrace of his home in the village of Istha, police said. He was declared dead two hours later, leaving his wife and two grown-up children.

Police have appealed for anyone who attended Istha’s beer festival, which was held near Lübcke’s home, to make contact. On the night of the killing, the 65-year-old politician and his wife had been babysitting their one-year-old grandchild, as the toddler’s father was attending the fair on a nearby meadow.

Lübcke had reportedly stayed out on the terrace to smoke after the rest of his family had gone to bed. When his son returned from the fair, he discovered his father dead on the terrace.

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