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German court fines far-right parliamentarian

A suspended jail term and 6,000 euro fine have been imposed on a far-right German parliamentarian who mocked Holocaust Day in 2010. A northern German court found that Udo Pastörs had insulted the memory of dead.

The administrative court in Schwerin, the capital of Mecklenburg West Pomerania state, ruled that Pastörs was not protected by freedom of speech nor privilege for parliamentarians when he denied Nazi Germany's murder of six million Jews in what it called his "diatribe" on January 28, 2010 when parliament remembers the victims of Nazi tyranny.

The court ordered him to pay his fine to Schwerin's city library for children's books and slapped him with an eight-month suspended jail term.

In the state's regional assembly in Schwerin, 59-year-old Pastörs leads a minority parliamentary group of the anti-immigrant National Democratic Party (NPD). The party also has a few seats in another eastern German state, Saxony, but no seats at the federal level.

The presiding judge in Schwerin said Pastörs' use of prepared notes in parliament showed a premeditated use of significant "criminal energy" that could only be interpreted as Holocaust denial. In his speech, Pastörs had described parliament's ceremony as a "cult of guilt."

Pastörs already has a conviction for inciting hatred against Jews and Turks in 2010 during a NPD party gathering in the western German state of Saarland. For that, he was fined 6,000 euros and handed a ten-month suspended jail term.

German mainstream considering NPD ban

Groups with explicit neo-Nazi ideology are banned in Germany. Federal and regional state authorities are considering submitting a fresh application to ban the NPD to Germany's constitutional court in Karlsruhe.

Anti-NPD protestors in Schwerin carrying a banner demanding the banning of the NPD

Civic groups in Schwerin demand the banning of the NPD

A similar bid failed in 2003 because the top court said the presence of high-place informers had tainted evidence. But public pressure to outlaw the NPD has mounted further since a neo-Nazi cell, the National Socialist Underground (NSU), was exposed in November. The cell is alleged to have killed eight ethnic Turkish shopkeepers, a Greek man and a German policewoman between 2000 and 2007.

Latest figures indicate that the NPD has about 6,600 members.

ipj/slk (dpa, Reuters, epd, AP)

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