Verdict expected for German far-right politician Björn Höcke, accused of using Nazi slogan

(14 May 2024)

Halle, Germany – 14 May 2024
1. Various of Björn Höcke entering courtroom
2. Mid of prosecution
3. Höcke in courtroom
4. Courtroom door closing

Halle, Germany – 14 May 2024
5. Wide exterior of courthouse
6. Policeman
7. Protesters holding banner reading (German) "Björn Höcke is a Nazi"
8. Close of banner
9. Protesters
A court was expected to deliver its verdict on Tuesday in the trial of one of the best-known figures in the far-right Alternative for Germany party, who is accused of knowingly using a Nazi slogan in a speech.

Björn Höcke went on trial at the state court in the eastern city of Halle in mid-April, months before an election in the state of Thuringia in which he plans to run for governor.

He is accused of using symbols of unconstitutional organizations, a charge that can carry a fine or a prison sentence of up to three years.

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

Prosecutors contend he was aware of the origin of the phrase as a slogan of the Nazis’ SA stormtroopers, but Höcke has argued that it is an “everyday saying.” 

He testified at the trial that he is “completely innocent.”

The former history teacher described himself as a “law-abiding citizen.”

Closing arguments and a verdict are expected on Tuesday.

The 52-year-old Höcke is an influential figure on the hard right of Alternative for Germany, or AfD. 

He has led the AfD’s regional branch in Thuringia since 2013, the year the party was founded, and is due to lead its campaign in a state election set for September 1. 

A conviction wouldn’t necessarily have any direct effect on Höcke’s political ambitions.

Courts can in principle decide to bar a person who has been sentenced to at least six months in prison from voting or being elected for a time.

But that isn’t automatic and the court already has indicated that a prison sentence is unlikely.


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