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German Federal Court Tells Lower Courts to End Practice of Suspending Sentences Imposed on Neo-nazis

November 30, 1984
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Federal Court in Karlsruhe, from which there is no appeal, has served notice on lower courts throughout West Germany to end the fairly common practice of suspending prison sentences imposed on neo-Nazis. The court deplored probation for neo-Nazis which can be viewed by the public as unjustified softness toward rightwing extremism.

The ruling, which set an important precedent in meting out justice to neo-Nazi offenders, was handed down in the case of a man found guilty of disseminating anti-Semitic propaganda over a long period. A court in Stuttgart sentenced him to two years’ imprisonment but then suspended the sentence. The suspension was appealed by the State Prosecutor.

The immediate effect of the Kar Isruhe Court order is that this defendant will have to serve out his two year sentence. The anticipated long-term effect is that courts in the Federal Republic from now on will avoid suspended sentences. According to legal authorities they need not impose a prison term, but if they do the defendants will go to jail.

German law requires that prison terms exceeding six months should not be suspended if the maintenance of the democratic political system is at stake.

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