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Martin Sellner: Far-right Austrian banned from Germany

March 19, 2024

An Austrian far-right activist with hardline views on migration, Martin Sellner was allegedly the key speaker at a meeting of far-right figures in Potsdam. A court there has now made it illegal for him to enter Germany.

Far-right activist Martin Sellner, the former leader of the Identitarian Movement of Austria, appears at a Viennese court
Sellner has had run-ins with the authorities in not only Germany, but also the UK and Switzerland, among othersImage: Georg Hochmuth/APA/picturedesk/picture alliance

German authorities in the city of Potsdam on Tuesday said they had obtained an entry ban against an "EU citizen."

What do we know so far?  

Several German news outlets reported that the ban was imposed on Austrian far-right activist Martin Sellner. Sellner also confirmed the news in a post to the social network X, formerly Twitter. Sellner said he was no longer allowed to enter German territory for three years, otherwise he would pushed back and punished.  

The 35-year-old holds hardline views on migration,  and has also expressed racist and antisemitic beliefs.

A man in Hamburg holds a sign written "Never Again is Now!" during a demonstration against the far-right in January
The news of the Potsdam meeting where Sellner reportedly presented his "Remigration" plan sparked demos against the far-right across GermanyImage: Jonas Walzberg/dpa/picture alliance

Sellner was reportedly the key speaker at a meeting of far-right individuals in Potsdam in November last year. Sellner is believed to have proposed the mass deportations of people from Germany, including in some cases German citizens, during the event, in a plan dubbed "remigration." 

Details of the meeting were uncovered in January by the Collectiv media organization and led to massive street demonstrations in Germany against the far right. Members of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) were also present at the event, forcing the party to explain itself to the public with some in Germany pushing for an outright ban on the party. 

Germany not the only country to keep Sellner out

It's not the first time that Sellner has clashed with European authorities due to his controversial views. 

On Sunday, Sellner was stopped from giving a speech in Switzerland, where he would discuss his "remigration" proposals. The event in the Swiss canton of Aargau was put together by the Swiss neo-Nazi group "Junge Tat."

Swiss authorities said Sellner had been forced to leave Aargau to "to ensure public safety and prevent confrontation with people from the opposing side."

Martin Sellner stands in front of a sign of the Identitarian Movement in July, 2019
Sellner was earlier one of the co-leaders of the ethnonationalist Identitarian Movement in Austria Image: Sachelle Babbar/ZUMAPRESS/picture alliance

Sellner was also permanently barred from the UK in 2019 on national security grounds. He had earlier attempted to enter the country in 2018 but was taken into custody for two days and then deported.

In addition, the US government also canceled his travel permit to enter the country in 2019 amid suspicion that he had ties to the gunman behind an anti-Muslim shooting in New Zealand. Austrian citizens can make short trips to the US visa-free but are still required to obtain an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization).

Sellner is married to right-wing activist Brittany Pettibone. He had expressed interest in living with Pettibone in the US state of Idaho, rather than Austria. 

wd/sms (AFP, dpa, epd) 

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