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German politician fined over use of banned Nazi slogan

Halle (Germany), May 15, 2024
A leading member of Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, Bjorn Hocke, has been fined for using a prohibited Nazi slogan, a regional court has ruled.

The regional court in the eastern German city of Halle on Tuesday evening sentenced Hocke to a fine for using symbols of unconstitutional and terrorist organizations.

The court imposed a fine of 13,000 euros ($14,000) to be paid in 100 daily instalments.

The public prosecutor’s office had accused the leader of the Thuringian state AfD of having knowingly used a banned slogan of the Sturmabteilung (SA), or Storm Troopers, a Nazi paramilitary group commonly referred to as the “brownshirts.”

The case was sparked by a speech delivered by Hocke in Merseburg in May 2021, during which he employed the phrase “Everything for Germany!” (Alles fur Deutschland!) which is banned in Germany.

A former history teacher, Hocke denied that he had knowingly used the slogan. The defence had called for Hocke to be acquitted of the charge on the grounds that he did not know it was forbidden.

The prosecution had earlier called for a suspended six-month sentence and asserted that he was aware of its historical origin.

The presiding judge agreed and stated in the judgement that the court was convinced that Hocke knew that the SA slogan was banned but used it anyway.

“You are an eloquent, intelligent man who knows what he is saying,” the judge said.

After the judgement was handed down, the public prosecutor’s office said that it would consider an appeal. If the judgement is upheld, Hocke will have a criminal record.

The Thuringian AfD is categorized and monitored by the state’s domestic intelligence service as a confirmed right-wing extremist party, and Hocke is its state leader.

The AfD’s signature issue is a hard-line anti-immigration stance, and the party is profiting from increased concern among many German voters over the rising numbers of people seeking asylum in the country.

The current verdict is not expected to have any direct consequences for Höcke’s candidacy for the upcoming state election in Thuringia on September 1.(Agency)

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