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CRIME

Ex-RAF leftist turned neo-Nazi lawyer Mahler gets 6 years in jail

A Munich court on Wednesday sentenced Horst Mahler, a prominent right-wing extremist and former member of the leftist terrorist group the RAF, to six years in prison for incitement of hate crimes.

Ex-RAF leftist turned neo-Nazi lawyer Mahler gets 6 years in jail
Photo: DPA

In November 2007, Mahler admitted to distributing an outlawed book by Holocaust-denier Germar Rudolf, called “Lectures on the Holocaust.” Mahler, 70, also distributed discs of himself giving a speech that called the Holocaust the “most momentous lie in world history.”

His defence attorney plans to take the case to the country’s high court to question the definition of incitement of hatred (Volksverhetzung) in the German penal code.

Before he started supporting the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD) in 2000, Mahler was a member of the left-wing Red Army Faction terrorist group in the 1970s. He also defended several of the RAF’s members during criminal trials.

He was sentenced to 14 years in prison for his criminal activities as part of the group in 1970. He was released four years early in 1980 with help from lawyer Gerhard Schröder, who later became German chancellor in 1998.

GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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