[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Monday, 24 January, 2005, 17:56 GMT
Party escapes Holocaust reprimand
By Ray Furlong
BBC News, Berlin

The National Democratic Party's Holger Apfel
The government has tried to ban the NPD
State prosecutors in Germany say they cannot take legal action against a far-right party that disrupted a minute's silence for Holocaust victims.

National Democratic Party officials walked out of the Saxony state assembly after comparing the Holocaust to the World War II allied bombing of Dresden.

The NPD secured 9.2% of the vote in the Saxony state elections last year.

An attempt by the German government to ban the party failed at the country's highest court.

State prosecutors in Dresden said that what they called "questionable statements" by NPD officials had been made during a session of the Saxony state assembly and could therefore not be prosecuted.

Infiltration

The NPD has proved to be adroit at staying just about on the right side of the law, while at the same time acquiring a reputation as Germany's most extreme far-right party.

The German government has compared it to the Nazi party in its early years, but when it tried to ban the NPD the result was an embarrassing failure.

Two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that the party had been infiltrated by informers working for the German authorities.

This made much of the evidence against the party inadmissible. The NPD was able to argue that incriminating statements were actually not made by party officials, but by the informers, purely with the aim of getting the party outlawed.

Now, the debate has re-emerged about whether it is time to try banning the party again.

But the German Interior Minister, Otto Schily, is being cautious - suggesting instead efforts to restrict its right to assembly as far as possible.


SEE ALSO:
Berlin bans extreme right march
24 Sep 04 |  Europe
Far right fuels German angst
20 Sep 04 |  Europe
Country profile: Germany
23 Jan 05 |  Country profiles


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific