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Neo-Nazi fined €1,200 for putting swastika flag on a coffin

A prominent neo-Nazi who buried a comrade with a swastika flag was fined €1,200 Monday, after a Passau judge found him guilty of displaying unconstitutional symbols.

Neo-Nazi fined €1,200 for putting swastika flag on a coffin
Photo: DPA

Thomas Wulff was arrested last July after being seen by witnesses placing a Nazi flag in the casket of the deceased neo-Nazi Friedhelm Busse. Displaying swastika banner is a criminal offence in Germany.

Prosecutors in the Bavarian city had asked that Wulff get a six-month jail sentence. Wulff’s defence lawyer, the head of the Hamburg branch of the extremist National Democratic Party, Jürgen Rieger, said his client was exercising his right to free speech.

During testimony Monday morning, Wulff said he was given the flag by other bystanders at the funeral and he placed it on the coffin because he was standing nearest to the grave. He said the action was unplanned.

In its judgment, the court sided with Wulff’s story and said his actions were not a knowing provocation of the public and that the swastika had only been visible for a few momements. The court concluded a fine was sufficient punishment.

Wulff’s case has spawned additional drama. Passau police chief Alois Mannichl dug up the coffin and removed the flag shortly afterward.

In December 2008, Mannichl was stabbed at the door of his home by an unknown assailant who reportedly said, “Many greetings from the national resistance.” Police have not yet apprehended any suspects in the attack.

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CRIME

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

READ ALSO: The German rules of the road that are hard to get your head around

In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

READ ALSO: The German road signs that confuse foreigners

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