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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/d/deckert.gunther/press/reuter.062294


Archive/File: fascism/germany deckert.005
Last-Modified: 1994/07/23

RT 06/22/94 1127  NAZI APOLOGIST RE-CONVICTED BY GERMAN COURT

    MANNHEIM, Germany (Reuter) - A German court Wednesday convicted a
   Nazi apologist of denying the Holocaust had happened, three months
   after his original sentence on the same charge was overturned on
   appeal.  Guenter Deckert, head of the far-right National Democratic
   Party, again received a one-year suspended sentence and was fined
   $6,250.

      Germany's highest appeals court, the Federal Court of Justice,
   provoked uproar in March by revoking the penalties.  The appeals
   court said then that propagating the "Auschwitz lie" -- the claim
   that the Holocaust never happened -- did not in itself constitute a
   crime and told the Mannheim justices to examine whether Deckert
   "subscribed to Nazi ideology."

     Handing down the one-year suspended sentence and the fine for the
   second time after brief deliberations, the district court in
   Mannheim said Deckert had done precisely that.  Deckert had been
   charged with inciting race hatred, a count often used to prosecute
   neo-Nazis.  The case stemmed from a lecture in Germany by U.S.
   neo-Nazi Fred Leuchter, which Deckert organized.  Deckert
   translated the Leuchter lecture into German and sold videotapes of
   it.  Leuchter, who designs execution chambers for U.S.  prisons and
   is due to stand trial in Germany on race hate charges, told the
   National Democratic Party he had visited Auschwitz death camp and
   established that it had never had gas chambers.

     The earlier decision by the appeals court to overturn Deckert's
   conviction was seen as a reversal of previous legal interpretation,
   which had always considered spreading the Auschwitz lie to be in
   breach of race hate laws.  The ruling outraged Jewish groups and
   led to calls for making denying the Holocaust a specific criminal
   offense.

      A government bill which would have criminalized Nazi apologists
   was rejected last week in Bonn's upper house of parliament because
   of opposition objections to other aspects of the bill.

     REUTER



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