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Court Rules W. German to Trial over His {span}###{/span} Nazi Organization

August 17, 1989
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Constitutional Court has ruled that neo-Nazi activist Michael Kuehnen must stand trial for running an illegal organization.

The decision, which legal experts say could set a precedent for future cases, concerned the Action Front National Socialist, which Kuehnen continued to run in 1983 although it was banned as an extremist group.

He challenged the ban, and a court in Hamburg ruled last year that he could not be prosecuted as long as a decision on the nature of his group was pending.

The Karlsruhe court, which is the highest in West Germany, overruled the Hamburg decision. It stated that the rights of freedom of organization and expression do not apply to groups that preach opposition to the democratic constitutional system.

But Kuehnen, 34, had better luck in Frankfurt, where the prosecution decided to withdraw charges that he circulated illegal neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic material last year.

The court could not determine whether a racist booklet was written by Kuehnen or was a compendium of writings by Americans and other friends of the accused.

A proposal to send a delegation to the United States was rejected and the prosecution concluded that the case was not worth the expense of the trial.

Other charges are pending in several jurisdictions against Kuehnen, who once spent five years in jail for neo-Nazi activities.

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