Man whose death set off anti-migrant protests in Germany ‘may have died in drug dispute’

A man whose death sparked anti-migrant protests in the German city of Chemnitz last summer may have been killed in a drug dispute, according to new claims.

The death of Daniel Hillig in a suspected stabbing by migrants last August set off violent protests which saw neo-Nazis openly giving the Hitler salute on the streets of Chemnitz and a Jewish restaurant was attacked.

Six months after the incident, the full circumstances of Hillig’s killing remain unclear. He was involved in an altercation on the streets at around 3am. One Afghan man has been arrested in connection with the incident, but the prime suspect, a second Afghan named only as Farhad A under German privacy laws, remains at large.

Details of prosecution documents leaked to the German press this week suggest drugs may have been involved.

An eyewitnesses told prosecutors the dispute began after a man approached Hillig and appeared to ask for a card to chop cocaine into lines to snort, according to Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

The witness claimed the man mimed snorting cocaine and appeared to be under the influence of the drug.

Pathologists also found traces of cocaine in the murdered man’s body, according to German television reports — suggesting he too may have been under the influence of the drug at the time of the killing.

The two men became involved in an altercation which turned violent. The arrested man, who has been named as Alaa S, came to the aid of the first man.

A knife was produced and Hillig was stabbed to death. Alaa S has denied taking part in the stabbing.

Prosecutors and defence lawyers for Alaa S declined to comment on the reports. A decision is expected in the coming days over what charges will be pressed against Alaa S. His lawyer has applied for his trial to be moved out of Chemnitz, arguing it could lead to protests which would endanger public security.

In the wake of Hillig’s killing Chemnitz saw the most serious anti-migrant protests in recent German history. Far-Right groups who gave the Hitler salute in the city centre and attacked a Jewish restaurant were accused of hijacking the protests for their own political ends.

Protestors were filmed attacking migrants and a spokesman for Angela Merkel described them “hunting down” migrants through the streets.

The riots shook Mrs Merkel’s government and led to the firing of the then head of Germany’s domestic intelligence service, Hans-Georg Maassen, after he publicly contradicted the chancellor over events.

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