German far-right leader charged with incitement

Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:10am EDT

Udo Pastoers, parliamentary floor leader of the far-right German National Democratic Party (NPD) in the state parliament of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, addresses a news conference in Schwerin June 1, 2007. REUTERS/Christian Charisius

Udo Pastoers, parliamentary floor leader of the far-right German National Democratic Party (NPD) in the state parliament of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, addresses a news conference in Schwerin June 1, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Christian Charisius

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BERLIN (Reuters) - A leading member of Germany's far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) has been charged with inciting racial hatred for calling Germany a "Jews' Republic" and attacking Turks in a speech earlier this year.

State prosecutors in the southwestern city of Saarbruecken said on Monday they had charged Udo Pastoers, NPD parliamentary leader in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, where the party has held seats in the legislature since 2006.

The charge followed a decision by the state parliament to strip Pastoers of immunity after his speech at an NPD rally in Saarbruecken on February 25.

In an address that has been broadcast on television and the Internet, he attacked Germany as a "Judenrepublik" (Jews' Republic) and described it as a tool of "USrael," playing upon ties between the United States and Israel.

Bernd Meiners, a spokesman for state prosecutors in Saarbruecken, said on Monday that if convicted, the 56-year-old could face up to four years in prison.

Pastoers also described Turks -- Germany's biggest ethnic minority -- as "semen cannons" who were overwhelming the country with their offspring, Meiners said.

It was likely that Pastoers would be in court to answer the charge before the end of the year, state prosecutors said.

Earlier this year, a court handed a suspended jail sentence to Udo Voigt, the head of the NPD, for inciting racial hatred.

The NPD wants to end parliamentary democracy and is described by Germany's domestic intelligence agency as racist, anti-Semitic and revisionist.

It has around 7,000 members and also has seats in the state parliament of the eastern region of Saxony.

(Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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