‘Date-rape drug’ scandal rocks German chancellor’s party

Multiple women felt dizzy after a summer party hosted by Germany’s Social Democrats

Berlin police have launched an investigation after at least nine women reported feeling unwell following an invite-only event hosted by the parliamentary group of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s party on Wednesday.

The probe was triggered after a 21-year-old woman felt unwell during the party and had no memory of the event the next day, even though she says she didn’t drink any alcohol. The victim went to a hospital, and filed a complaint, with police now awaiting the results of her blood test for possible toxic substances.

By Saturday, authorities received at least nine similar complaints, after the incident was first reported by the Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel, and the SPD sent out an email to all those invited to the event, condemning the “monstrous act” and urging other possible victims to come forward.

“I advise all those concerned to file a complaint,” SPD’s Katja Mast said on Twitter, while a spokesman for the SPD’s parliamentary group told AFP there was “still a lot of uncertainty, the police are investigating.”

Local media reportes alleged that the women have likely fallen victim to so-called “date-rape drugs” or “knockout drops.” Such substances are sometimes used by sexual predators at night clubs and bars to spike drinks or food, to leave victims confused and unable to defend themselves. 

The investigation so far is being conducted on suspicion of serious bodily harm by unknown perpetrators. Authorities have yet to officially confirm if any illicit drugs were involved, and there were no reports or allegations of sexual abuse.

The traditional celebration ahead of the parliamentary recess held on Wednesday was attended by around 1,000 people, including Chancellor Olaf Scholz and several federal ministers, party lawmakers and their employees. “It was an internal event. You could only get in with an invitation,” the SPD’s spokesman confirmed.

“It makes me angry such a thing could happen at an event organized by the SPD,” the party’s co-leader Lars Klingbeil told the Die Welt daily, expressing hope that the perpetrator or perpetrators would be identified and brought to justice.

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