Turkish students convicted over Nazi salute at Auschwitz

KRAKOW Wed Feb 5, 2014 9:38am EST

KRAKOW (Reuters) - A Polish court on Wednesday sentenced two Turkish students, in absentia, to a suspended prison sentence after finding them guilty of making Nazi salutes at the site of the Auschwitz death camp in southern Poland.

The two, a man and a woman, are both 22-year old students of history. They were detained last December by museum guards at the site where some 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, but also Roma, Poles and others, perished between 1940 and 1945.

Prosecutors said the pair made the Nazi salute close to the Auschwitz entry gate, with its metal sign reading "Arbeit macht frei," or "Work makes you free," and were photographing themselves.

The court gave them each six-month prison terms, suspended for three years. They were not in the courtroom because they were released shortly after their detention and left Poland.

"In the course of proceedings the students showed willingness to undergo voluntary punishment and our proposal for 6 months punishment was upheld by the court today, " the chief of the local prosecutors' office, Grazyna Pniak, told Reuters.

(Reporting by Wojciech Zurawski; Writing by Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Christian Lowe)