Libel verdict against right-wing extremist upheld

29th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

29 July 2005, KARLSRUHE, GERMANY - Germany's high court Friday ruled that it is libellous to call a public figure a "Gypsy Jew" in print, saying the term is offensive to both Jews and Gypsies and conjures up the spectre of Nazi atrocities against both groups.

29 July 2005

KARLSRUHE, GERMANY - Germany's high court Friday ruled that it is libellous to call a public figure a "Gypsy Jew" in print, saying the term is offensive to both Jews and Gypsies and conjures up the spectre of Nazi atrocities against both groups.

In handing down its decision, the Federal Constitutional Court upheld a lower court verdict against a right-wing extremist who had printed up leaflets calling one of Germany's best known Jewish officials a "Zigeunerjude" (Gypsy Jew).

The court said the term, used in print by former right-wing Republican Party official Hermann Josef Reichertz, was libellous inflammatory Nazi jargon. Under post-war German law, use of Nazi slogans or catchwords is banned except for historical or theatrical purposes.

The barb had been aimed against Michel Friedman, a former vice chairman of the Council of German Jews and a well-known TV talk show host.

Reichertz printed his hate pamphlets in November 2000 after Friedman issued an appeal for Germans to stand up against neo-Nazism.

The libel case is unrelated to a subsequent scandal involving Friedman and allegations of drugs use in 2003 which resulted in his stepping down from the Council of German Jews and suspending his TV appearances for a time.

DPA

Subject: German news

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