German Nazi symbols law may need change: minister

BERLIN (Reuters) – The German government said on Monday a law penalizing people for displaying Nazi symbols might need to be changed after a court fined a man for selling anti-Nazi T-shirts and badges bearing swastikas.

The Nazi emblem appeared on the items in a circle with a large red line through it.

But a state court in the southwestern city of Stuttgart ruled on Friday it still violated German law because it risked making the hooked cross acceptable again.

It fined the 32-year-old distributor 3,600 euros ($4,560) in a decision widely condemned by German politicians over the weekend. The man’s lawyer has said he plans to appeal.

Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries questioned the logic of the decision in the Maerkische Allgemeine newspaper on Monday, saying that if the ruling was confirmed by a higher court, then the law itself was flawed.

“If the federal court comes to the same decision, then something is wrong with the law,” she was quoted as saying. The newspaper said Zypries could look into changing the legislation.

Under German law, performing a Hitler salute, wearing Nazi uniforms or displaying the swastika can carry a penalty of up to three years in prison.

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Reuters, via the Washington Post, USA
Oct. 2, 2006
www.washingtonpost.com

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This post was last updated: Monday, October 2, 2006 at 6:15 PM, Central European Time (CET)