Jewish leader 'astonished' at court decision

30th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

30 July 2004, DUSSELDORF - German Jewish leader Paul Spiegel said Friday he was astonished at a German high court decision the previous day that a neo-Nazi anti-synagogue rally was allowed under constitutional freedom of expression.

30 July 2004

DUSSELDORF - German Jewish leader Paul Spiegel said Friday he was astonished at a German high court decision the previous day that a neo-Nazi anti-synagogue rally was allowed under constitutional freedom of expression.

Jews in Germany also supported freedom of opinion and assembly, said Spiegel, who is president of the national council of Jews.

"However, it is astonishing that the Federal Constitutional Court repeatedly lays down its very generous interpretation of these basic rights in cases involving extreme right-wing demonstrations," he said.

The court had paid too little attention to the fact that National Party of Germany (NPD) demonstrations "have the sole purpose of provoking and isolating the Jewish populace", he said in Dusseldorf.

In the landmark decision, the federal judges in Karlsruhe Thursday rejected a state court ruling that banned a rally by the extremists against construction of a Jewish synagogue.

The initial ban had been pronounced by municipal authorities in the city of Bochum who said the rally violated federal laws against public utterance or display of Nazi ideology.

The high court, in reversing the lower court, conceded that the opinions expressed by the rightwing radical group were clearly offensive and objectionable to many people.

However, the justices said the sensibilities of the majority opinion were outweighed in this case by the constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression.

In handing down their decision, the Karlsruhe justices wrote, "The basic guarantees of freedom of expression apply as well to minorities. These guarantees cannot be suspended simply because the ideas expressed by a minority contradict those held by the majority."

DPA

Subject: German news

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