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Neo-Nazi Trial Put on Ice After Upset

DW staff (ncy)
November 15, 2005

The trial of notorious Holocaust-denier Ernst Zündel will have to be rescheduled after the judge disqualified the public defender. She had appointed a debarred right-wing extremist as her legal assistant.

Zündel will have to wait in jail until a new trial opens -- probably next yearImage: AP

On the second day of the trial against neo-Nazi Ernst Zündel in Mannheim, Judge Ulrich Meinerzhagen announced that a new lawyer would have to be assigned to defend the 66-year old.

Attorney Sylvia Stolz had appointed Horst Mahler, a debarred lawyer and well-known right-wing extremist, as her legal assistant. The judge said this was legally punishable. He dismissed both Stolz and Mahler from the defense on the first day of the trial last week.

Meinerzhagen said a new defender would need time to prepare, which was no longer possible in the midst of the current trial. No date for a new trial was given.

Zündel, who had been deported by Canada to Germany in March, faces charges of inciting racial hatred. Meinerzhagen said he would remain in pre-trial detention and that the trial's collapse was entirely due to the defense team.

Convicted for right- and left-wing extremism

Horst Mahler
Horst MahlerImage: AP

Mahler spent 1970-1980 in prison after being convicted for membership in the German left-wing terrorist organization Red Army Faction (RAF). After leaving jail, he turned his attention to the extreme right-wing. In January, he was convicted of inciting racial hatred and sentenced to nine months in jail.

The defense team had earlier in the day attempted to have the judge recused from the trial for alleged bias, but the court rejected the petition as unfounded. It also turned down the defense's appeal to have the trial closed to the public.

The district attorney's office said it was unlikely a new trial would start before next year.