Archive/File: fascism/germany deckert.002 Last-Modified: 1994/08/17 Subject: Deckert Judge Removed UPn 08/12 1249 Kohl condemns rightist's light sentence By GUY CHAZAN BERLIN, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- German Chancellor Helmut Kohl Friday condemned as scandalous and unacceptable a decision by a Mannheim court to let off an extreme-right party leader who claimed the Holocaust was a lie invented by Jews. While denying that the decision was "symptomatic for German judges" or proved that they were "blind in the right eye," Kohl said the verdict was "a sheer disgrace" and "damaged Germany's standing abroad." In an interview published in Saturday's edition of the popular Bild newspaper, Kohl also hinted that the judges who delivered the verdict should face disciplinary action. The deputy chairman of the opposition Social Democrats, Wolfgang Thierse, said the judges should from now on only be allowed to deal with traffic offenses, considering the enormous moral and political damage their decision had wrought. "Whoever praises the character of neo-Nazis himself becomes an ideological and judicial promoter of nationalist violence," he said. The three-judge Mannheim court caused nationwide outrage by suspending the one-year sentence of National Democratic Party leader Guenter Deckert, who had earlier been convicted of inciting racial hatred against Jews. The court described Deckert, a former high-school teacher, as a dedicated family man and a "strong-willed, responsible personality with clear principles, who defends his political views with great dedication. " They said Deckert was not an anti-Semite, but a nationalist who bitterly resented the financial, political and moral demands that Jews continued to make on Germany 50 years after the end of World War II. The same court had earlier found Deckert guilty of inciting race hate after he organized a meeting where he translated a speech by the American Fred Leuchter Jr. casting doubt on the Holocaust. Germany's highest court then ordered a retrial, saying Deckert could not be convicted unless he was expressing views that were clearly his own. In their ruling, published this week, the Mannheim judges said Deckert had clearly broken the law and rejected his appeal for acquittal, but suspended the sentence in the expectation that he would not repeat the crime. The ruling was a "slap in the face for Holocaust victims," according to German Justice Minister Sabina Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger. The public prosecutor's office lodged an appeal against the decision with Germany's highest court, and the prosecutor who worked on the Deckert case said that the judges themselves could face criminal prosecution for remarks they made in the ruling. Deckert's party was classified by Germany's domestic security service, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, as an extremist group that encouraged racism and anti-Semitism.
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