Austrian neo-Nazi sentenced to nine years in jail


(JTA) — An Austrian court sentenced a neo-Nazi activist to nine years in prison for glorifying his racist ideology online.

Heeding prosecutors’ description of Gottfried Kuessel, 54, as a prime leader of the extreme right, the jury voted last week to convict him. Two other defendants were sentenced to seven and 4 1/2 years.

Kuessel had denied any wrongdoing and told the court he had turned over a new leaf since serving a previous jail term for neo-Nazi activity, which is banned in Austria, Reuters reported.

"I had expected an acquittal because of the very thin evidence," he said. "There was only circumstantial evidence, not more."

The president of the Jewish Community of Vienna, Oskar Deutsch, warned last month that anti-Semitic incidents had doubled in Austria in 2012 from 2011.

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