Eight months jail for racist attack on Indians

4th December 2007, Comments 0 comments

4 December 2007, Oschatz, Germany (dpa) - A 23-year-old man was jailed for eight months Tuesday for leading a racist mob that beat up and chased eight Indian men in the eastern German town of Muegeln last summer. The court in the town of Oschatz rejected a proposal by prosecutors to suspend the term, saying the man must go to prison as a "deterrent" to others. There was no legal grounds for leniency. "The defendant played a leading role in this," said Judge Klaus Denk, convicting him of incitement to racia

4 December 2007

Oschatz, Germany (dpa) - A 23-year-old man was jailed for eight months Tuesday for leading a racist mob that beat up and chased eight Indian men in the eastern German town of Muegeln last summer.

The court in the town of Oschatz rejected a proposal by prosecutors to suspend the term, saying the man must go to prison as a "deterrent" to others. There was no legal grounds for leniency.

"The defendant played a leading role in this," said Judge Klaus Denk, convicting him of incitement to racial hatred, a serious crime under German law, along with causing damage to property.

"The courts will not tolerate this kind of violence," he said. There had been a risk of it escalating into a full-scale attack against a minority.

The attack by about 50 men during a town festival made headlines round the world. Three other Germans have been fined for their role in the violence. Prosecutors said they did not have enough evidence to charge four further suspects.

The mob chased the terrified Indians across a street and broke windows at a pizza parlour where they took refuge.

The defendant, 23, had admitted assault but denied any racist motive or damaging property in the early August 19 clash.

"Emotions were running high," the 23-year-old told the court.

The accused said he pursued the Indians because one of his friends had been injured with a knife during a brawl, in which both Indians and Germans had reportedly been involved, on a dance-floor at the festival.

He admitted throwing a metal bar through the window of the pizzeria where the Indians sought refuge after being chased, but denied uttering racist slurs during the rampage.

The incident left 14 people injured, among them the eight Indians and two policemen, mainly with bruises, cuts, black eyes and shock.

A youth, 18, was last week given a fine in court of 600 euros (900 dollars). Two other Germans have received summary fines of 1,500 and 2,625 euros.

Reports of the attack caused outrage in Germany and India.

The Indian manager of the pizzeria, who was one of the injured, was one of the witnesses called for the trial in the district court in Oschatz, 10 kilometres north of Muegeln.

The incident provoked soul searching in Germany about a long series of racist incidents, mainly in the eastern states that once formed communist East Germany.

Interior Ministry statistics released last month showed the number of victims of far-right crime in Germany was up more than 25 per cent in the first nine months of 2007.

Prosecutors in the city of Leipzig said they were still investigating the brawl and treating this as a separate incident, with testimony about it contradictory.

DPA

Subject: German news

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