German neo-Nazi leader jailed for incitement

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The Independent Online
A GERMAN court yesterday sentenced a neo-Nazi leader, Thomas Dienel, to two years and eight months in jail for inciting racist violence by publicly calling for the murder of Jews and foreigners.

In a further illustration of the get-tough policy on right-wing extremism, Dienel, leader of the neo-Nazi German Nationalist Party, is also likely to face a ban on future public speaking and political activity, the government announced in Bonn.

During Dienel's two-day trial in the eastern town of Rudolstadt, the court heard that, addressing a skinhead rally in September, he said: 'Unfortunately, the younger generation (of Germans) has not killed any Jews yet . . . More Fidschis (Vietnamese immigrant workers) and niggers have to burn.' Showing no sign of contrition, Dienel went on to say that the Holocaust had never taken place (such an utterance is an offence under German law), that all foreigners living in Germany were 'parasites' and that he had no intention of revising his views.

Although the prosecutor asked for a two-and-a-half year sentence, Judge Sabine Denst imposed an extra two months, warning that 'there's the worry that someone will turn this call into reality'.

Dienel, a 31-year-old former official with the East German FDJ youth organisation, has emerged as one of the key figures of the neo-Nazi movement in eastern Germany, scene of some of the worst violence against foreigners since unification in 1990. Against a background of rising anti-Semitism and xenophobia the government has signalled its intention to crack down on the offenders, banning the neo-Nazi Nationalist Front.

Rudolf Seiters, the Interior Minister, yesterday said that an application had been lodged with the country's constitutional court to restrict the civil liberties of both Dienel and Heinz Reisz, a neo- Nazi leader in the western state of Hesse who has also called for foreigners to be 'hunted'. 'The government feels it necessary to use all available means to defend democracy,' Mr Seiters said.

Until last month's killings in Molln - where three Turkish women died in a fire-bomb attack on their home - the government and the courts were widely condemned for not taking a tougher line against right-wing extremists, focusing instead on changing the constitution to restrict the numbers able to come to Germany claiming asylum.

Stung by international protest and massive anti-xenophobia rallies within Germany itself, the government decided to act. In addition to banning the Nationalist Front, criminal authorities were quick to track down the Molln murderers and the police raided the homes of scores of suspected neo-Nazis throughout the country, searching for banned material and weapons.

In the latest such raid, police yesterday searched 24 flats and houses in the northern port of Wilhelmshaven. They were looking for material that would justify a ban on a local right-wing extremist group, the German Comradeship League.

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