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Jail term for neo-Nazi protestor sparks outcry

Published: 19 Jan 2013 11:47 GMT+01:00

Tim H., a 36-year-old Berliner and father of a two-year-old with no previous criminal record, was sentenced on Wednesday to 22 months in jail for encouraging fellow demonstrators at an anti-Nazi rally in February 2011 to break a police barrier. His lawyer is appealing the sentence.

The Dresden judge ruled that because four policemen were injured as a result of that action, Tim H. is responsible. The Berliner Zeitung reported that Tim H.’s crime was “using a megaphone” at a demonstration in which 10,000 anti-Nazi protestors faced 3,000 neo-Nazis.

The district attorney admitted that Tim H. did not throw anything at the police and did not hit or otherwise injure any police officers. He was held responsible for the injuries because, in his view, Tim H. provoked the attacks by inciting the crowd via megaphone.

Sven Richwin, Tim H’s attorney, said the words “go forward, go forward” could be heard on the police video and there were no calls for violence.

Richwin doubts that his client can even be seen on the police video and the prosecutor’s main witness exonerated Tim H. Witnesses who viewed the demonstration from their balcony said Tim H. was not the person they saw behind the megaphone.

Additionally four police witnesses could not identify Tim H. Richwin expects to win the case on appeal.

Nearly 500 demonstrators heeded the call from the organization “Nazi-Free Dresden” to protest the ruling in downtown Dresden. They yelled “We are all Tim” and protest speakers blasted the Dresden court, saying the ruling was a farce. Anti-fascist protestors are criminalized in Dresden, speakers told the crowd.

Top politicians from the centre-left Social Democratic Party, the Greens and the socialist Left party also condemned the sentence. Katja Kipping, the head of The Left, said the ruling was designed to scare others away. “I’m ashamed of this,” the Dresden-born politician said.

Well-known Greens MP Hans-Christian Ströbele said the ruling would not deter him from demonstrating in Dresden again. Former parliamentary (Bundestag) president Wolfgang Thierse called Dresden justice “peculiar” and labeled the ruling “strange.”

The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:18 January 19, 2013 by Sastry.M
Freedom cannot do away with responsibility and democracy cannot win without simple commonsense human logic and rationality. Unbridled exercise of human mind- freedom adds only to confusion and defeats the very purpose of all those venerable institutions created for human enlightenment and peaceful progress. One may review the antecedents of the judge who passed the harsh judgement before appealing further and seek justice in a more rational manner.
14:54 January 19, 2013 by raandy
An over reaction stemming from fear of the far right.
15:19 January 19, 2013 by Kennneth Ingle
It is rather surprising to find any judge who has the courage to convict the so-called anti-fascists in Germany. Thereby, in many cases they are far more violent than their neo-Nazi counterparts. The police, who stand between these two radical groups, are the ones who suffer most. It was about time that somebody stands up to the thugs on the left, as well as to those on the right.

In my opinion, it is the politically manipulated education which leads to such extremism. A number of schools and universities have an extremely left-wing presentations of German history. Anybody who tries to correct the false interpretations of what happened during the 1930s, is looked upon as being far right. Such persons are seen as targets for left-wing radicals.

On the other side, because much of what is said, about earlier German generations can be proved to be incorrect, we have others who claim almost everything was a lie.

In a true democracy, it would be the duty of the government to make sure that children are taught the truth about what happened in the past, thus avoiding reason for dispute. Instead we find people being charged, tried and convicted, for speaking openly on subjects which should demand more clarification.

For example, to doubt something took place, can have the same reaction in the courts and media, as a complete denial would have.

It would not be a bad idea to make sure that all politicians in parliament, including Herr Thierse,were given a basic knowledge of European history, instead of just repeating what they have heard said. When a fish starts to die from the head, the stink soon reaches the extremities and the same goes for politics, not just in Germany.
15:25 January 19, 2013 by Eric1
I wonder if Tim H. would have protested far left wing groups with such vigor. Communist and Anarchist are just as big of a threat as Nazis.
15:36 January 19, 2013 by raandy
Kennneth Ingle good read and I agree, same type of politically oriented education in the USA also,truth seems to be an extinct virtue.
16:45 January 19, 2013 by Navigator_B
Misleading headline - "Jail term for neo-Nazi protestor"
17:13 January 19, 2013 by Opeth_fan
This sort of thing is typical of the "authorities" in Dresden total incompetents.
17:19 January 19, 2013 by Navigator_B
This isn't the first time that the the Dresden prosecutor's office accused somebody of promoting violence at an anti-Nazi demonstration, based on hardly any evidence. A couple of years ago they ordered a raid on the flat of pastor Lothar König, but that time they had to drop the charges.
18:02 January 19, 2013 by ChrisRea
I find it normal that somebody who incites the crowd to break the police barrier receives such a sentence, disregarding the original purpose of the demonstration. However, I understand from the article that there is no evidence that identifies Mr. Tim H. as the man behind the megaphone.
14:54 January 20, 2013 by Englishted
Why are you behind a megaphone ,but in front of a microphone?
15:36 January 20, 2013 by Vargaz
Inciting violence is the same thing as assaulting someone. Doing so under these conditions and hurting police officers should have added an additional 2 months to his sentence for stupidity. He should "man up" and accept the consequences of his acts. He (and his nappy-clad solicitor) sound more like American whiners playing The Blame Game, America's national pastime.
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