The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: places/germany/ap.121093

Archive/File: fascism/germany ap.121093
Last-Modified: 1993/12/12

BONN, Germany (AP)--A neo-Nazi got life in prison Wednesday and his sidekick
10 years for a 1992 firebombing that killed three Turks.  The ruling is 
hailed as proof that Germany is serious about locking up violent admirers of
Adolf Hitler.

The term handed down to Michael Peters was the first life sentence for a 
neo-Nazi assailant since a wave of right-wing attacks began in 1990.   
Germany has no death penalty.

Peters, 26, and Lars Christiansen, 20, were convicted by a state supreme
court in Schleswig for the Nov. 23, 1992 firebombing of a Turkish apartment
house in Moelln, a town near Hamburg.

Christiansen's 10-year sentence is the maximum penalty for someone 21 years
old or younger.

Justice authorities have been accused of being too lenient with young 
right-wing extremists or handling investigations so badly that acquittals
were inevitable.  

In his verdict, Judge Hermann Ehrich said that the two may have felt 
emboldened by anti-foreigner sentiment in German society.  

He mentioned last year's drive by politicians to close Germany's borders to 
asylum-seekers, and the residents who cheered as extremists firebombed a 
Rostock asylum shelter three months before the Moelln attack.  

A spokesperson for the Frankfurt Jewish community, Michel Friedman, said a 
harsh sentence was long overdue.  "I just hope it has a deterrent effect."

But security authorities said neo-Nazi groups were forming tighter bonds
and it was becoming harder to infiltrate them.

At least 30 people have died in three years of neo-Nazi violence.  Attacks
occur nearly every day.

On Tuesday, skinheads tried but failed to throw a Liberian out of a moving
streetcar in Berlin.

The Moelln firebombing infuriated Germany's Turkish community, prompted 
new legal measures against right-wing radicals, and sent thousands of 
Germans out into the streets to protest in candlelight parades.


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