Crime Infested Quarter of NPD Officials Have Been Prosecuted

Around one-quarter of the leadership of Germany's extremist National Democratic Party has been convicted of a crime, according to a newspaper report. The news could add fuel to the national debate over whether to ban the party.

DPA

Almost one-third of officials within Germany's far-right National Democratic Party has either been convicted of criminal offenses or the subject of investigation for suspicion of committing them, the Berliner Zeitung newspaper reported in its Monday edition.

The newspaper cited an as yet unpublished petition by Germany's states seeking to ban the far-right NPD. Earlier this month, the sixteen states filed a motion with the Federal Constitutional Court in the city of Karlsruhe to outlaw the party, arguing it espouses a racist, violent ideology similar to Hitler's Nazi party.

Thirty-one percent of 176 NPD leaders is currently under criminal investigation or has already been convicted by a court, according to the states' legal submission, the newspaper reported. The report also states that a quarter of the party's officials have been convicted.

The verdicts and investigations against the NPD leadership reference politically motivated crimes that date back to the 1990s, including assault and battery, coercion, material damage, violation of the public peace, violation of the assault weapons law and the creation of criminal and terrorist groups.

The legal move against the NPD by Germany's states comes a decade after a similar bid by the federal government failed in 2003. This time around, Chancellor Angela Merkel's federal government in Berlin declined to back the petition to the Constitutional Court, despite pressure from Germany's Turkish, Jewish and Roma communities. The new initiative was spurred by increasingly vocal public opposition to right-wing extremism following the discovery of the National Socialist Underground in 2011, a neo-Nazi terrorist group that has claimed responsibility for the murder of 10 mostly Turkish immigrants between 2000 and 2007. NPD officials deny any association with those murders.

The states contend that the NPD -- an official political party with 5,400 members and access to government funding -- poses a significant threat to German democracy. However, many experts argue that the NPD's limited national support, at 1.3 percent in the most recent federal election, make such an argument a challenge to prove in court.

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sneeekysteve 12/19/2013
1. Leave them alone
Most of the offenses that they are alleged to have committed are violating hate speech laws that shouldn't exist in Germany today. The government has no right to try to control people's opinions. Why don't you just leave them alone and let them express their opinions? Freedom of speech is a fundamental right in a democratic nation.
rechtsami 12/21/2013
2. Ban the NPD?
What percentage of the SDP leadership, or the CDU leadership, has been involved in a court case? Regardless of whether or not the leaders of the NDP have been charged and convicted of anything, they are the ones chosen by their constituents to represent the party, and by extension, the people who support them. Oh, I forgot. Free speech and an open political climate only exists for the Left in the "New Germany". What was that I heard about some pigs being more equal than others?!
johann84 12/23/2013
3. optional
Convicted when free speech are confused with hate speech and prosecuted. Regardless what happens now in the USA, it is still the only free country in the world.
spon-facebook-10000325527 12/30/2013
4. If you suppress freedom of speech........
.......then YOU are the threat to democracy. It is questionable if it even exists in Germany. I realize you have your past. But logic is logic and there is no wrestling it down.
Richard Selby 01/02/2014
5. Re: Johann84
I'll disagree with you there Johann84. As an American, I can't really say that I enjoy the high level of free speech that's legalized in the USA.
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