Connect with us

World

Co-leader of Germany's far-right AfD party fined for using Nazi slogan

Published

on

Co-leader of Germany's far-right AfD party fined for using Nazi slogan

The case involved Björn Höcke’s use of “Everything for Germany!” in a 2021 speech. While prosecutors said he knew it was originally a Nazi slogan, Höcke claimed it was an “everyday saying”.

ADVERTISEMENT

Björn Höcke, who is one of the best-known figures in the far-right Alternative for Germany party, has been fined for using a Nazi slogan in a speech.

The verdict on Tuesday in his trial comes months before a regional election in the eastern state of Thuringia in which he plans to run for the governor’s job.

The state court in the eastern city of Halle convicted Höcke of using symbols of an unconstitutional organisation, German news agency dpa reported. It imposed a fine of 13,000 euros.

The charge can carry a maximum sentence of three years in prison. Prosecutors had sought a six-month suspended sentence, whilst his defence lawyers argued for acquittal.

The case centred on a speech in Merseburg in May 2021 in which Höcke used the phrase “Everything for Germany!” Prosecutors contended he was aware of its origin as a slogan of the Nazis’ SA stormtroopers, but Höcke has argued that it is an “everyday saying.”

Advertisement

He testified at the trial that he is “completely innocent.” The former history teacher described himself as a “law-abiding citizen.”

The 52-year-old Höcke is an influential figure on the hard right of the AfD. He has led its regional branch in Thuringia since 2013, the year the party was founded, and is due to lead its campaign in a state election set for September 1.

He once called the Holocaust memorial in Berlin a “monument of shame” and called for Germany to perform a “180-degree turn” in how it remembers its past. A party tribunal in 2018 rejected a bid to have him expelled.

Prosecutor Benedikt Bernzen argued in Tuesday’s closing arguments that Höcke had used Nazi vocabulary “strategically and systematically” in the past.

Höcke accused prosecutors of not looking for exonerating circumstances and argued that freedom of opinion is limited in Germany.

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

World

Biden Set to Deliver Commencement at West Point on Saturday

Published

on

Biden Set to Deliver Commencement at West Point on Saturday
By Jarrett Renshaw WILMINGTON, Delaware (Reuters) – U.S. President Biden will deliver the commencement speech on Saturday at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, amid conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza. The speech before some 1,000 U.S. Army cadets is part of a push by Biden to highlight the …
Continue Reading

World

Israel forced to work on Jewish Sabbath as UN court judge calls out colleagues in scathing dissent

Published

on

Israel forced to work on Jewish Sabbath as UN court judge calls out colleagues in scathing dissent

A U.N. International Court of Justice (ICJ) chided her colleagues on Friday for requiring Israel to work on the Sabbath when responding to a case brought by South Africa to the ICJ under the Genocide Convention.

The dissenting opinion from ICJ Vice President Julia Sebutinde came in a nine-page document, issued in response to the court’s order for Israel to end its military offensive in the southern city of Rafah in Gaza. That ruling stems from South Africa’s request, which accuses Israel of genocide in its ongoing war with Hamas terrorists in Gaza. Israel has vehemently denied these charges. 

Among her disagreements with her colleagues, Sebutinde, who is Ugandan, objected to the court’s handling of South Africa’s request, and the “incidental oral hearings.” 

Judge Nawaf Salam, president of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), speaks next to Judge Julia Sebutinde, vice president of the ICJ, at the start of a hearing in The Hague Netherlands, on May 16. (Reuters/Yves Herman)

“In my view, the Court should have consented to Israel’s request to postpone the oral hearings to the following week to allow for Israel to have sufficient time to fully respond to South Africa’s Request and engage counsel,” Sebutinde wrote, noting that the Israel’s preferred Counsel was not available on the dates scheduled by the Court. 

Advertisement

“It is also regrettable that Israel was required to respond to a question posed by a Member of the Court over the Jewish Sabbath,” Sebutinde said. “The Court’s decision in this respect bear upon the procedural equality between the Parties and the good administration of justice by the Court.” 

Sebutinde also argued that the court’s initial ruling “does not entirely prohibit the Israeli military from operating in Rafah.” She also urged the court, to maintain its judicial integrity, to “avoid reacting to every shift in the conflict and refrain from micromanaging the hostilities in the Gaza Strip, including Rafah.” 

LINDSEY GRAHAM TELLS UN INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE TO ‘GO TO HELL’ OVER RULING AGAINST ISRAEL

Sebutinde clarified that the ruling operates to “partially restrict Israel’s offensive in Rafah to the extent it implicates rights under the Genocide Convention.” She warned that the ruling is “susceptible to ambiguity and could be misunderstood or misconstrued as ordering an indefinite, unilateral cease-fire, thereby exemplifying an untenable overreach on the part of the Court.” 

Smoke billows during Israeli bombardment in eastern Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 19, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. (AFP via Getty Images)

The judges’ ruling on Friday stopped short of ordering a full cease-fire across the entire Palestinian territory, and Israel is unlikely to comply with the court’s ruling. Friday’s decision comes just days after Norway, Ireland, and Spain said they would recognize the Palestinian state, and the chief prosecutor of a separate international court sought arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as leaders of Hamas.

Advertisement

Since Oct. 7, Israeli bombardments and ground offensives in Gaza have killed more than 35,000 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health, which doesn’t distinguish between combatants and civilians.

Israel launched its war in Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed about 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250. Israel says around 100 hostages are still captive in Gaza, along with the bodies of around 30 more.

Continue Reading

World

At least 24 people, including children, killed in a fire in India’s Gujarat

Published

on

At least 24 people, including children, killed in a fire in India’s Gujarat

The fire broke out at a family entertainment venue in Gujarat’s Rajkot district.

At least 24 people, including many children, have died in a fire that broke out at a family entertainment venue in the western Indian state of Gujarat, a government official said.

With rescue efforts continuing at the scene on Saturday evening in the Rajkot district, the local mayor told the Reuters news agency that the death toll was expected to rise.

“Our focus is on rescue operations and saving lives. We will ensure strict action is taken against the people who are responsible for this incident,” Mayor Nayana Pedhadiya said.

More than 300 people were in the two-storey structure at the TRP amusement and theme park when the blaze broke out as it was a holiday weekend, Rajkot fire officer Ilesh Kher told reporters.

Advertisement

“People got trapped as a temporary structure at the facility collapsed near the entrance, making it difficult for the people to come out,” he said.

“The flames spread rapidly because of its flammable material,” he added.

Television images showed a massive fire engulfing the TRP game zone and thick clouds of smoke emanating from the site. The entire structure was gutted in the blaze.

A police official at the local civil hospital said some of the bodies were also charred beyond recognition.

Meanwhile, the district’s chief fire officer, IV Kher, said firefighters had almost brought the fire under control.

Advertisement

“The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained,” he told Reuters.

Gujarat Chief Minster Bhupendra Patel said that an investigation into the incident had been handed to a Special Investigation Team (SIT), and television reports added that two people had been detained by Rajkot police in connection with the incident.

Gujarat is the home state of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In a post on the social media platform X, Modi said that he was “extremely distressed by the fire mishap in Rajkot” and added that the local administration was working to provide assistance to those affected.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Trending