AfD decides not to punish its members suspected of spreading Russian propaganda

The leadership of the far-right party Alternative for Germany has decided not to impose sanctions on its member Petr Bystron, whom the media have called involved in a Russian operation to influence the European Parliament elections. This was reported by Spiegel.

The AfD’s federal executive committee meeting took place on April 8 and lasted just under 20 minutes. The committee asked Bystron if he or his family had received questionable donations, which he categorically denied.

Ultimately, the party leadership decided to ask Bystron, who is also a candidate for the European Parliament elections, to put his arguments in writing. According to Spiegel, the AfD’s governing body concluded that it could not impose any sanctions against the politician, except for a ban on campaign speeches.

“For the time being, the Federal Executive Committee must assume Mr. Bystron’s innocence,” the AfD’s governing body said in a statement.

Spiegel reports that Alternative for Germany is prepared to start the process for the far-right politician’s immediate expulsion from the party if proven guilty.

Last month, a journalistic investigation revealed that AfD member of the Bundestag and AfD candidate for the European Parliament, Petr Bystron, received money from a pro-Russian influence network. Mr. Bystron decided to challenge these allegations in court.

In March, the Czech Republic exposed a network that was developing an operation to spread Russian influence and undermine European security.

In this context, Prague imposed sanctions against Viktor Medvedchuk, Ukrainian-born propagandist Artem Marchevsky, and the pro-Kremlin right-wing website Voice of Europe.

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