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Germany

German court upholds hotelier's refusal to accomodate far-right leader

An Eastern German court has rejected a lawsuit filed by the leader of the far-right NPD party. Udo Voigt wanted to sue a hotel for refusing to give him a room because of his political affiliations.

Udo Voigt

Voigt's xenophobic politics made him an undesired guest

The leader of Germany's far-right NPD party, Udo Voigt, has lost a court case he filed against a German hotel which refused to grant him accommodation because of his controversial views.

Frankfurt on the Oder's regional court ruled in writing that the hotel was within its rights not to allow the extremist politician to stay the night, "with a view to the polarizing nature of the NPD on the German public, [and] concerns about the hotel's own image and external reputation."

Late in 2009, the hotel cancelled a booking made by Voigt, and also told him that he would be banned from their establishments in the future.

The NPD leader claimed that the hotel's decision was an act of political discrimination that infringed on his civil rights, but the four-star health spa hotel in Bad Saarow in the state of Brandenburg said Voigt's status meant that his case was unique.

"The political convictions of Mr. Voigt cannot be reconciled with our hotel's aim to offer every guest an experience of excellent well being, wherever possible," the hotel said in a statement defending its decision.

Bad for business

The German union of hotels and guest houses (DEHOGA) welcomed the court's ruling.

"Our calling is to offer a friendly atmosphere for guests, and that does not fit with the xenophobic statements from certain right-wing groups," DEHOGA's boss Ingrid Hartges said in Berlin.

The judges did say that the individual decision was an infringement on Voigt's civil rights, however, they said this did not automatically constitute a crime, considering "the circumstances of this individual case".

As a written decision from a regional court, the decision doesn't constitute a legal precedent, and can still be appealed.

Author: Mark Hallam (AFP, dpa, epd)
Editor: Michael Lawton

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