– Pegida founder guilty of race charge
– Lutz Bachmann escaped jail sentence
– Both defense and prosecutor counsel have vowed to appear the ruling.
Pegida founder guilty of race charge as he is the founder and leader of the German anti-Islam movement, Pegida, has been convicted of inciting racial hatred, BBC reported.
Although Lutz Bachmann escaped a prison sentence, he was fined €9,600 (£7,600; $11,000) for calling refugees “scum”.
Bachmann has however branded the case a political show trial. According to his lawyer, Bachmann never made the remarks, but a video was made available in court showing Bachmann defending the remarks. The court saw a video of him defending them.
In an interesting twist of the case, both parties of defendant and prosecutors have vowed to appeal the ruling. The Prosecutors are seeking a seven-month jail sentence as punishment for Bachmann.
Pegida organises regular demonstrations against Islam and asylum seekers. According to BBC, the rallies drew thousands of people a week at their inception in the eastern city of Dresden, and spread across German cities as a protest again Germany’s open door policy for refugees, but they have drawn fewer people in recent months.
Pegida founder guilty of race charge
The anti-immigration demonstrations have often been met by counter-protests. Rival groups of protesters gathered outside the court in Dresden before the hearing on Tuesday.
Lutz Bachmann, 43, was accused of inciting racial hatred in Facebook posts, in which he called refugees “cattle”, “scumbags” and “filth”. The defence counsel is however holding out for a probable case of Hacking on the Facebook account of Mr Bachmann. His lawyer, Katja Reichel, reminded the court that it was possible to hack Facebook accounts.
But the prosecution showed the court a video of Bachmann addressing a Pegida rally in February 2015. In his speech, he said his post used “a few words that any of us would use”.
With the video as the evidence, the judge, Hans Hlavka, told the court that it was “clear” that Bachmann was responsible for the comments. He said the insults could not be considered to be free speech.
PEGIDA is an acronym for Patriotische Europaeer Gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West)