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Germany: SPD investigates reports of women drugged at party

July 9, 2022

Germany's Social Democrats are examining reports of eight women being affected by some kind of "knockout" substance akin to Rohypnol at the party's summer convention earlier this week.

The SPD's Willy Brandt Haus headquarters in Berlin, with the cube sculpture bearing the party's initials outside the front door in focus. File photo from October 2021.
According to internal SPD messaging, eight cases are suspected and police have been notifiedImage: Reuhl/Fotostand/picture alliance

Germany's Social Democrat Party (SPD) believes that eight women were affected by some kind of "knockout drops," a German slang term covering multiple so-called "date rape" substances including the relatively well known brand Rohypnol, at an internal summer party on Wednesday. 

The story was first reported by German newspaper Tagesspiegel, with news agencies dpa and Reuters also later citing the same internal party communications on the issue. 

"This is an outrageous turn of events, which on our side was immediately reported to parliamentary police," senior SPD official Mathias Martin wrote to SPD Bundestag lawmakers and their staff. 

8 cases suspected within SPD, other potential victims urged to speak up

According to reporting from Tagesspiegel, citing an internal SPD chat group, eight suspected cases were known to the party. 

"We recommend other people who were potentially affected to bring it to the attention of police without delay," Martin wrote. 

According to the SPD's chat messages, one case had been proven by test and charges filed against an unknown assailant. 

Katja Mast, the Social Democrats' senior whip in parliament, also advised anyone else who thought they had been affected to alert the authorities. 

"We are all outraged and will do everything in our power to shed light on this unbelievable occurrence," Mast said. 

The SPD's national summer party, part of a busy week of events in Berlin in the last week of Bundestag business before the summer break, which now runs until early September, took place at the chancellery on Wednesday. 

Chancellor Olaf Scholz on a stage giving a speech at the "BEE Summer Party" hosted by the German Renewable Energy Federation, the Bundesverband Erneuerbare Energie (BEE), in Berlin on July 6, 2022.
The internal SPD party took place on Wednesday in Berlin, after public events such as this renewable energy symposium where Olaf Scholz gave a speechImage: Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa/picture alliance

It involved SPD lawmakers from the national and local levels, their staff and guests. Chancellor Olaf Scholz was also present. According to Tagesspiegel, roughly 1,000 people attended in total this year, fewer than in previous years as a result of the COVID pandemic. 

msh/jsi (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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