BONN (Dec. 6)
The Federal Parliament had indefinitely shelved yesterday a vote on a bill which would have provided for jail sentences on conviction for incitement of national, religious or racial hatred or defamation on racial or religious grounds.
The measure, revising a section of the West German penal code, was adopted by the German Upper House and had its first reading in the Lower House. It would have provided a three-month jail sentence for endangering the public peace by incitement or defamation on racial or religious grounds.
The bill was shelved when speakers of all parties declared that the measure, in its present form and wording, would fail to accomplish its purpose. A Social Democratic speaker said it would place the Jews under “monumental protection” and isolate them in a “golden ghetto.” A Free Democrat speaker asserted that existing legislation was adequate to protect against racial or religious slander if the law were properly interpreted by the courts.
A Christian Union spokesman said he would not vote for the measure because it would mislead the public and cause them to rely on judges and prosecutors instead of on themselves against anti-democratic and anti-Semitic forces. Franz Shaffer, Minister of Justice, defended the proposed legislation.