German far-right figure charged for uttering Nazi slogan: AP explains

(18 Apr 2024)
RESTRICTION SUMMARY:

ASSOCIATED PRESS
ARCHIVE: Erfurt, Germany – 1 May 2019
1. Björn Höcke walking during demonstration, holding banner

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Berlin, Germany – 17 April 2024
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Kerstin Sopke, The Associated Press journalist:
++SOUNDBITE STARTS ON SHOT 1, CONTINUES ON SHOTS 3-5++
“One of the most prominent figures in Germany’s far-right party is going on trial on Thursday. Björn Höcke is accused of chanting a slogan used by the Nazis and banned in Germany. Höcke is an influential figure of the party’s hard right. Prosecutors say he would have been well aware of the fascist connotation of ending a political event with the words ‘Everything for Germany!’ Höcke faces up to three years in prison.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS
ARCHIVE: Erfurt, Germany – 18 May 2016
3. STILL of Höcke

ASSOCIATED PRESS
ARCHIVE: Erfurt, Germany – 1 May 2019
4. Demonstrators walking with German flags

ASSOCIATED PRESS
ARCHIVE: Berlin, Germany – 28 October 2019
5. STILL of Höcke during news conference

ASSOCIATED PRESS
ARCHIVE: Erfurt, Germany – 1 May 2019
6. Höcke walking during demonstration, holding banner

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Berlin, Germany – 15 April 2024
7. SOUNDBITE (German) Wolfgang Schroeder, Political science professor at the Berlin Social Science Center:
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"The challenge, the explosive nature of this process is that he is the leader of the strongest party in Thuringia at the moment. So not just any small splinter party, but he leads the strongest party in Thuringia, and that is of course bizarre for the Federal Republic of Germany, which sees itself as an anti-fascist state."

ASSOCIATED PRESS
ARCHIVE: Berlin, Germany – 28 October 2019
8. Höcke arriving at news conference

ASSOCIATED PRESS
ARCHIVE: Erfurt, Germany – 3 March 2020
9. STILL of of Höcke

ASSOCIATED PRESS
ARCHIVE: Erfurt, Germany – 1 May 2019
10. Demonstrators walking

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Berlin, Germany – 17 April 2023
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Kerstin Sopke, The Associated Press journalist:
“But this trial comes just months ahead of regional elections. Some fear it could give his ideas an even greater platform to spread an extremist agenda as he runs to become state governor of Thuringia.”
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STORYLINE:
Prosecutors said Wednesday that they have charged one of the most prominent figures in the far-right Alternative for Germany party with a second count of uttering a slogan used by the Nazis’ SA stormtroopers at a political event.

Björn Höcke was already scheduled to go on trial in Halle on April 18.

Prosecutors in the eastern city said they would seek to have the new count added to those proceedings. 

Höcke, 52, is the leader of the regional branch of Alternative for Germany, or AfD, in the neighbouring state of Thuringia and an influential figure on the party’s hard right.

He is set to lead its campaign in a state election set for Sept. 1.

In the case already scheduled for trial, Höcke is charged with using symbols of unconstitutional organisations.

He is accused of ending a speech in Merseburg in May 2021 with the words “Everything for Germany!”

Prosecutors contend he was aware of the origin of the phrase as an SA slogan.

They have said Höcke’s lawyers denied that his words had any “criminal relevance.”

In the new case, prosecutors allege that he repeated the offense at an AfD event in Gera, in his home state, on Dec. 12 last year, “in certain knowledge of the punishability” of the slogan. 

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