Archive/File: fascism/germany/deckert deckert.007 Last-Modified: 1994/08/24 Executive News Svc.($) RT 08/09 COURT RULING ON GERMAN FAR-RIGHT LEADER DISPUTED BONN, Germany (Reuter) - The German government and the country's Jewish leader have criticized a court for its handling of a case in which a far-right leader denied the Nazi Holocaust took place. The Mannheim regional court in June gave Guenter Deckert, head of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD), a one-year suspended prison sentence and a $6,300 fine after convicting him of incitement to racial hatred. The court defended its decision Tuesday, saying Deckert was a highly intelligent father of a family and had no previous criminal record. The case stemmed from a 1991 lecture in Germany by U.S. neo-Nazi Fred Leuchter, which Deckert organized. Deckert translated the lecture into German and sold videotapes of it. Leuchter, who has designed execution chambers for U.S. prisons and is to stand trial in Germany on race hate charges, told the NPD he had visited the Auschwitz death camp and established that it had never had gas chambers. The court said in a statement that Deckert "defends his political conviction, which is a matter of the heart to him, with great commitment and at the cost of substantial time and energy." Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, whose office normally prevents her from attacking court judgments, said she could not remain silent. "This is a slap in the face for all victims of the Holocaust and a shocking signal," she said. "What good are the most effective regulations to combat neo-Nazism if a German court calls the denial of the Holocaust a 'matter of the heart'." Germany's Jewish leader Ignatz Bubis told Wednesday's edition of the daily Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel: "The judges demonstrate an attitude for which a teacher would once have been dismissed." The Mannheim court had convicted Deckert previously and given him the same sentence. But Germany's highest appeals court, the Federal Court of Justice, provoked uproar in March by revoking the sentence, saying the "Auschwitz lie" did not constitute a crime in itself. Leutheusser-Scharrenberger said she hoped the Federal Court of Justice would again overturn the Mannheim ruling.
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