Germany's far-right National Democratic Party sent mock deportation orders to the private addresses of several immigrant politicians, instructing them to start finding accommodation and employment in their countries of origin because "foreigners are being returned to their home countries in a step-by-step process."
The NPD confirmed sending the two-page letter last weekend. The head of the Berlin organisation of the party, Jörg Hähnel, is now under investigation by the city's public prosecutors's office for suspected racial incitement.
The letter was written in the form of a declaration from the "Commissioner for the Repatriation of Foreigners" -- a non-existent post. It said it was providing "details of your return home."
Özcan Mutlu, a member of the Berlin local state parliament for the Green Party, received one of the letters on Saturday and told Berlin daily Tagesspiegel: "They still haven't understood that this country is our country too."
He said he often received emails and threatening letters from right-wing extremists and had got used to them. But he added that he was concerned that some people might be fooled by the letter and fail to recognize that it's a "cheap election campaign stunt" without any legal basis.
The spokesman for the Berlin city government, Richard Meng, called the letter "disgusting" and "obscene" and recommended that anyone who receives one throw it away immediately.
He said it showed the NPD was trying to attract public attention at any price ahead of the Sept. 27 federal election and the regional elections taking place on the same day in the states of Brandenburg and Schleswig-Holstein.
Opinion polls indicate that the NPD has no chance of crossing the five-percent threshold needed to enter the Bundestag lower house of parliament, and that it is unlikely to win seats in either Brandenburg or Schleswig-Holstein.
Last month it managed to get re-elected to the regional parliament of the eastern state of Saxony, albeit with a reduced vote of 5.6 percent, down from 9.2 percent in the 2004 election.
This is the latest in a series of controversial NPD stunts that seem aimed at attracting publicity and votes. The party's media spokesman, Klaus Beier, caused outrage when he described Mezut Özil, the new star of the German national soccer team who was born in Germany to Turkish parents, as a "plastic German" and a "passport German" during a TV interview this month.
Separately, a court on Saturday ruled that an NPD election placard that read "Stop the Invasion by Poles" was racial incitement and ordered the party to remove them.
The German government and parliament tried in 2003 to ban the anti-immigrant NPD on the grounds that its xenophobic views and espousal of Nazi ideology were unconstitutional. But the Federal Constitutional Court rejected the bid to outlaw the party because several NPD officials who had been due to testify turned out to be informants for the domestic intelligence service, and their testimony was deemed invalid.
The interior minister of Bavaria, Joachim Herrmann, recently called for a renewed attempt to ban the party but it looks unlikely to happen because most conservatives are opposed to a new legal bid for the time being. The risk of another failure is still deemed too great.
The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the country's domestic intelligence service, said in its 2008 report that the NPD, which has some 7,000 members, holds "xenophobic, racist positions that range from trivializing historic National Socialism to sympathizing with it."