Berlin (AFP) - German prosecutors are investigating a police officer who allegedly abused two refugees, strangling an Afghan man and forcing a Moroccan to eat rotten pork off the floor.
The police officer has been accused of bragging about the brutal assaults in text messages and photos he sent via instant messaging service WhatsApp to his colleagues in the western city of Hanover.
Human rights group Pro Asyl condemned the alleged incidents, first reported by public broadcaster NDR, for their "appalling level of racism and inhumanity" and demanded a probe into how many "accomplices in police uniform" knew of the violence.
Prosecutors are investigating the officer, who has been suspended, on charges of physical assault and illegal weapons possession and have searched his home and work place.
In the first alleged case, in March last year, the officer had bragged in a text message about beating, strangling and sticking his fingers up the nose of a 29-year-old Afghan man whose feet were cuffed after he was detained for not carrying ID papers.
"It was funny ... squealed like a pig," the officer allegedly wrote on WhatsApp. "It was a present from Allah."
In the second case, months later, the officer allegedly targeted a 19-year-old Moroccan man, who had been detained for travelling on a train without a ticket, carrying a small amount of marijuana.
NDR reported that the policeman bragged about how he assaulted and then humiliated the young man by forcing him to eat minced pork -- a meat forbidden to observant Muslims -- which, additionally, was rotten, off the floor.
A photo allegedly sent by the officer shows a handcuffed man lying on the floor, wincing in pain, and apparently restrained by at least two officers.
Germany has become Europe's top destination for people fleeing war and poverty. Last year, asylum requests rose 60 percent to more than 200,000, and the government expects that number to more than double this year.