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Dresden court fines Akif Pirincci over hate speech

Hate speech vilifying foreigners two years ago has cost the far-right author Akif Pirincci a hefty fine. It’s been imposed by a Dresden court in Saxony, where the far-right AfD topped voting on Sunday.

Akif Pirincci (picture-alliance/Geisler-Fotopress)

Dresden's Administrative Court on Monday fined Pirincci 2,700 euros ($3,200) for mass incitement when in 2015 he addressed some 20,000 supporters of the anti-migrant movement Pegida in Saxony's regional capital.

The German-Turkish author's remarks prompted the publisher Random House to remove Pirincci's books from its listing. He had made his breakthrough in 1989 in thrillers about cats.

In their verdict Monday, the judges found that Pirincci had excited hatred against Muslims living in Germany and Muslim refugees intended to disrupt public peace.

"Free speech is a precious asset, which has its limits when its breaches criminal law, for example, when it's set above human dignity," said presiding judge Daniela Rothermundt.

'Unacceptable'

It was totally unacceptable to describe people as "rubbish,” Justice Rothermundt said. Monday's fine was far lower than the 11,700-euro fine first imposed in February after which Pirincci took his case to appeal.

Pirincci's verbal tirade – delivered at the invitation of Pegida founded Lutz Bachmann on October 19, 2015 – posited a "Muslim garbage dump" in Germany and Umvolkung, a racist word related to Nazi era territorial seizures.

He also described refugees, then entering Germany via the since-closed Balkans route, as "invaders" and branded German politicians as Gauleiter (regional commanders under the Nazi regime) acting against the population.

Federal Interior Minister's state

Ahead of the 2015 rally, Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, whose electorate is in Saxony had described Pegida members  as "hard-core far-right extremists".

 "They describe asylum seekers as criminals, politicians as traitors," the Christian Democrat (CDU) said. "Anyone who goes there should know that they are following rat catchers."

Dresden is the capital of Saxony, where in Sunday's federal parliamentary election, the far-right AfD party amassed 27 percent, eclipsing Chancellor Angela Merkel's regional Christian Democrats n 26.9 percent.

ipj/kms (epd, dpa, AFP)

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