Neo-Nazis Punished in Attack on Chernobyl Kids
BERLIN (AP) _ Eight neo-Nazis were convicted Monday of attacking a home and threatening the terrified people inside: little boys and girls hurt in the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
Also Monday, the mayor of the east German city of Weimar expressed outrage after three rightist youths accused of shooting a Mozambican man in the head were freed during the weekend without charge.
Hostility against foreigners dominated the airwaves, news pages and halls of government in Germany after many spent a cathartic weekend confronting the disturbing trend.
More than 100,000 people nationwide took part in demonstrations against a rise in attacks on foreigners over the weekend, the 53rd anniversary of a Nazi pogrom against Jews that ushered in the Holocaust.
Saturday also was the second anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall. Thousands of Germans used the twin occasions to denounce the rise in racial hatred.
On Monday, a youth court convicted and sentenced eight neo-Nazis in the May 9 attack on a home for children suffering from radiation sickness from the 1986 nuclear accident at Chernboyl.
The rightists were convicted of breaching the peace, grievous bodily harm and inciting violence. The attack took place in the east German city of Zittau.
Two men aged 34 and 23 were sentenced to 15 months in prison and a 23-year- old was sentenced to a year. The others were ordered to pay restitution, fines or enter into work programs.
Judge Lothar Scholz said the drunken neo-Nazis attacked the home late in the evening with rocks. They chanted such slogans as ″a tree, a rope, a Russian child″ and ″We need a second Chernobyl.″
Two of the thugs smashed a window, injuring an adult Soviet who was minding the children. The youngsters had been brought to Germany by charitable groups for a vacation.
In the east German city of Weimar, Mayor Klaus Buettner filed a formal complant with Justice Minister Hans-Joachim Jentsch after three German youths were freed Sunday, one day after they were arrested for shooting a 29-year-old Mozambican man with an air gun in the left temple.
″Only two centimeters further and the shot would have killed him,″ said city spokesman Joachim Vogel.
A duty judge on Sunday ordered the suspects freed, even though the prosecutor had demanded criminal action, said Vogel.
Politicians continue to debate whether to strengthen Germany’s liberal asylum laws. An estimated 30,000 East Europeans and Third World refugees are arriving monthly in the nation, and conservative politicans blame the asylum law for the rise in racial hatred.
Liberal lawmakers say agitating for more restrictions on foreigners only feeds rightist attacks.
The attacks have been prevalent in recent months in both parts of the united Germany, but are much more frequent in former East Germany, where young people with scant ability to compete in the new free-market system are venting their frustrations on foreigners.