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Racist Attack Verdict

DW staff (sms)
November 26, 2007

A German court found an 18-year-old man guilty of incitement related to a racist attack against a group of Indians that injured 14 people in the eastern German state of Saxony in August and punished him with a fine.

The August attack left 14 people injuredImage: picture-alliance/dpa

The trial was the first since the incident that occurred in the early hours of Aug. 19 and caused outrage in Germany and India. The unnamed man was ordered to pay 600 euros ($890) to an association for the protection of children.

During the proceedings, the defendant admitted to shouting racist slogans as a festival in the town of Mügeln was drawing to a close. A mob of around 50 pursued eight Indians across a street after an incident on a dance floor set up on the town square. They took refuge in a pizzeria.

Police stand on the Mügeln street at night
Some 50 people are reported have taken part in the violence in the town of MügelnImage: picture-alliance/dpa

Some 70 police officers eventually were able to calm the situation that left all eight Indians, two police officers and four of the attackers injured.

Prosecutors later said they had obtained sufficient evidence to charge four Germans, two of whom did not go to trial but received summary fines of 2,625 euros and 1,500 euros. A fourth suspect is scheduled for trial on Dec. 4.

Trial held behind closed doors

Monday's proceedings were closed to the public due to the man's age. German courts can choose to try adults under 21 under juvenile law. Prosecutors, who pushed for the court to apply adult law and its maximum penalty of 1,800 euros, said they were considering appealing the decision.

The incident has triggered outrage in Germany after photos of the bruised Indians were seen on the front pages of all major media in the country.

The attack and other racially motivated assaults across Germany have also prompted a heated debate about the need to counter racism and xenophobia, which statistics show is more widespread in former East Germany.

No witnesses to neo-Nazi violence

The backs of bald heads at a NPD party meeting
Attacks across Germany have reignited calls to ban the NPDImage: AP

Calls by some politicians to ban the far-right NPD party were renewed most recently after an attack on a 17-year-old girl on Nov. 3 in the town of Mittweida. Violent extremists scratched a swastika in the girl's hip after she tried to help a 6-year-old girl being harassed by four men.

Authorities said the investigation is moving slowly because no one has come forward as having seen the incident, prosecutor Siegfried Rümmler said Monday.

"People are simply afraid they might end up having problems with the neo-Nazis," Ingo Stange of Saxony's outreach center for victims of right-wing violence, told the DPA news agency.

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