ATHENS, Greece (JTA) — A member of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party was found guilty of inciting racist violence after threatening to turn immigrants into soap and to put them in ovens.
Alexandros Plomeratis, a losing candidate for the party in recent elections, was given a one-year suspended jail sentence by an Athens court.
Plomeratis had been filmed as part of a documentary by Britain’s Channel 4 News in which he made Holocaust references in threatening the many immigrants who live in Athens.
“We are ready to turn on the ovens,” he said. “We will turn them into soap but we may get a rash.” Plomeratis also threatened to “make lamps from their skins.”
He told the court that his comments were filmed during a private conversation with friends and he was “only joking,” according to the Kathimerini newspaper.
The sentence comes a week after Greece’s Parliament adopted a law that bans Holocaust denial and imposes harsher penalties of up to three years in prison for inciting racist violence. The new law cannot be imposed retroactively.
Greece has been trying to crack down on Golden Dawn. Many of its leaders are awaiting trial on charges of running a criminal organization.
The party, which has 18 seats in Parliament, frequently uses Nazi imagery. Its leaders have denied the existence of Nazi death camps and gas chambers.