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CRIME

Man found guilty of bashing Israeli teen

A 20-year-old cook was found guilty Tuesday of beating an Israeli teenager while yelling ''Jewish swine'' in the Saxony-Anhalt town of Laucha.

Man found guilty of bashing Israeli teen
Alexander P., left, with his lawyer. Photo: DPA

Despite the accused man Alexander P.’s denial that the crime was anti-Semitic, Judge Martina Zufall found him guilty of assault and two counts of causing bodily harm. She gave him a suspended sentence of eight months’ jail.

Zufall accepted the prosecution’s case that Alexander P., who belonged to the far-right scene and had two previous convictions for causing bodily harm, had shouted ”Jewish swine” during the assault on Noam Kohen, 17, at a bus stop on April 16.

She rejected Alexander P.’s claim that he was simply drunk and had been provoked.

“I flipped out in my severe state of drunkenness when I saw him because he offered my cousin drugs,” Alexander P. told the court in the town of Naumburg.

According to a June report in weekly newspaper Die Zeit, Alexander P. punched Kohen in the face without warning and yelled, “Go back where you came from, you Jewish pig!”

Kohen tried to flee but his attacker followed him, grabbed him by the jacket, threw him to the ground and continued punching and kicking him.

The case also appears to raise questions about whether bystanders did enough to intervene. Die Zeit reported that the police file recorded that six witnesses saw the attack and tried to stop Alexander P. “verbally” but did not physically intervene.

Alexander P. told the court that the crime had been seen by several witnesses and that he was acquainted with some of the people waiting at the bus stop.

“Of the others, no one dared approach me,” he said when asked whether anyone had intervened.

It was not until a driver stopped his car and intervened that Kohen, who moved from Israel to Laucha with his mother and brother eight years ago, escaped the assault.

The court closed the trial to the public after the accused gave evidence to protect the identities of minors giving evidence, including the victim.

State prosecutor Gudrun Anacker said the crime was motivated by anti-Semitism and called for an eight-month suspended sentence in juvenile detention, while the defence asked for a six-month suspended sentence.

Anacker also demanded a monetary fine that would go towards the Buchenwald concentration camp memorial.

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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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