Extremism: Second trial for Nazi slogan: Höcke protests innocence

Extremism: Second trial for Nazi slogan: Höcke protests innocence
Extremism: Second trial for Nazi slogan: Höcke protests innocence

It’s about the banned Nazi slogan again. Thuringia’s AfD leader Höcke is back in the dock in Halle. Once again he feels innocent.

The second trial against Thuringia’s AfD leader Björn Höcke is making slow progress at the Halle Regional Court. Even before the prosecutors can read out the charges, the 52-year-old’s two defense attorneys have made several motions.

In it, they doubt that the regional court has jurisdiction at all and complain about a media barrage of criticism against their client. A fair trial is not possible, the case must be stopped. The court rejects the request for several interruptions. Höcke then asserts his innocence.

According to the indictment, the AfD politician is said to have chanted the slogan “Everything for Germany” at an AfD get-together in Gera, Thuringia, on December 12, 2023. This is a banned slogan of the Sturmabteilung (SA), the paramilitary combat organization of the Nazi party NSDAP. He is said to have uttered the first two words and encouraged the audience to complete them with a hand gesture.

Höcke claims innocence

In court, Höcke denied that he wanted to encourage people to join in with the gesture. Rather, he was surprised that the speech was completed by the audience.

“I am completely innocent in this case too. I know that I will be convicted. But that doesn’t feel fair to me,” says the 52-year-old. However, he also does not see the sentence as punishable. These are “common words” that the SA also used.

350 participants at the regulars’ table

According to the indictment, around 350 participants attended the event in a forest restaurant. The public prosecutor’s office accuses the politician of using symbols of unconstitutional and terrorist organizations.

The former history teacher wants to run as the AfD’s top candidate in the state elections in Thuringia on September 1. His party is classified as definitely right-wing extremist by the state’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

Sentence with fine in May

Höcke was already convicted of the Nazi slogan in May. The Halle Regional Court imposed a fine of 100 daily rates of 130 euros each on him. The verdict is not final because the politician appealed. Höcke had argued that even as a former history teacher, he did not know the slogan when he uttered it at the AfD election campaign event in Merseburg in Saxony-Anhalt in May 2021.

The court saw it differently and found that the politician knew what he was saying and was also testing the boundaries. The use of the phrase that is now being charged occurred at a time when criminal proceedings for the first case were already underway. Höcke is said to have referred to this very thing in his speech in Gera in 2023.

Seats remain free in the courtroom

At the first trial, the spectator seats in the court were full, with more in an additional listening room for journalists. The second trial met with less interest. This time, several seats remained empty. Those present witnessed how, at the beginning, all photographers and cameramen were suddenly sent out of the courtroom. The reason given was that Mr. Höcke did not want to be photographed. The photographers were only allowed to take out their cameras and take pictures later.

For Höcke, the second trial in Halle is not the last, by the way. The Mühlhausen Regional Court in Thuringia has admitted charges against the politician on charges of incitement to hatred. Specifically, it concerns a post by Höcke on Telegram from 2022, which deals with an act of violence in Ludwigshafen and the alleged behavior of many immigrants. Trial dates have not yet been set.

Source: Stern

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