BERLIN (Jun. 23)
A state court in the southwestern German city of Mannheim has convicted Gunter Deckert, chairman of the extreme right-wing National Democratic Party, on charges of inciting racial hatred.
Ruling on a case that has attracted much attention here and abroad, the court on Wednesday sentenced Deckert to a one-year suspended jail sentence and a fine of $6,250.
Charges had initially been brought against Deckert after he served as translator at a rally in 1991 for Fred Leuchter, an American Holocaust denier.
In addition to translating comments made by Leuchter, Deckert had said that he supported Leuchter’s theories, including statements that the Holocaust never took place.
Deckert had already been convicted and given a one-year suspended sentence on the charge on Nov. 13, 1992. But both he and the state court appealed the sentence, with Deckert wanting the case dropped entirely and the state prosecutor seeking a tougher sentence.
In March of this year, the Federal Court of Justice, Germany’s highest appeals court, reversed the lower court’s decision, saying that simply repeating another person’s denial that the Holocaust occurred was not in itself a punishable offense.
It then sent the case back to the lower court to determine whether Deckert subscribed to Nazi ideology, which is a punishable offense.