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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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