3 Germans convicted of World Cup incitement
BERLIN — A German court on Friday convicted the head of the country’s leading far-right party and two other senior members of inciting racial hatred and defamation over a pamphlet circulated during the 2006 World Cup.
National Democratic Party leader Udo Voigt and party spokesman Klaus Beier were both handed seven-month suspended sentences, while the party’s legal affairs head Frank Schwerdt received a 10-month suspended sentence, for printing a pamphlet that insinuated black defender Patrick Owomoyela was not worthy to play for Germany’s national team.
All three were further ordered to each make a euro2,000 donation to the U.N. Children’s Fund.
The flyers showed the German team’s traditional white jersey imprinted with the No. 25 — worn at the time by Owomoyela — over the title: “White, not just a jersey color! For a real NATIONAL team!”
Judge Monika Pelcz said the jersey depicted in the pamphlet was clearly recognizable as that worn by Owomoyela at the time. He is no longer a member of the national squad.
The defendants had argued the jersey showed the No. 26, and the slogan referred to a need to clean up the sport in the wake of several gambling scandals ahead of the World Cup.
Pelcz ruled the pamphlet clearly “demeaned, defamed and insulted” Owomoyela, born of a German mother and a Nigerian father.
“If that image is not racially insulting, then I don’t know what is,” Pelcz said.
Voigt called the ruling “absurd,” and vowed to appeal.
“We will not accept this ruling,” Voigt said. “It is clearly political.”