A Dresden court has found Patriotic Europeans Against The Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA) founder Lutz Bachmann guilty of hate speech against migrants and sentenced him to a €9,600 fine.
The trial of Lutz Bachmann has come to an end. The PEGIDA founder was accused of inciting hate speech or “sedition” against migrants back in 2014.
Bachmann made a post on Facebook in which he called some migrants “brutes” and “scum.” The Dresden court ultimately found Bachmann guilty of inciting hatred toward the migrants and decided to forgo a prison sentence and fine him instead reports Frankfurter Rundschau.
Prosecution attorney Tobias Uhlemann is likely unhappy with the sentence as he demanded that Bachmann should be put behind bars for seven months for his actions. Uhlemann said that Bachmann was responsible for inciting hatred and his speech endangers the peace.
“The evidence is overwhelming,” he said. Dresden Attorney and press officer for the city prosecutor’s office, Lorenz Haase, also commented on the sentence saying, “we will consider next week whether we proceed against the judgement.”
Bachmann’ s lawyer Katja Reichel stood firm in the defence of her client. She claimed that Bachmann should be acquitted because there was not enough evidence to prove and clarify that the tone of the post was abusive. She said in the courtroom, “Mr. Bachmann is acquitted. Nothing has been proven!”
The case presented by the defence was that Bachmann could not be clearly linked to having been the author of the Facebook posts. A Dresden journalist whose paper first published the remarks was called in to testify on behalf of the prosecution. The journalist said that he had no doubt that the comments were made by Bachmann and were authentic.
A member of the police who investigated the case also testified that he doubted the comments could have been manipulated by a third party.
Reichel still maintained her theory that the posts had been manipulated after the fact, but also said that the account which they would have been posted to was private and therefore could not fit the definition of public hate speech. The lawyer attempted to subpoena a representative from Facebook to prove this was the case.
The case was an uphill battle for the defence from the very beginning. On the first day of the trial the Dresden prosecutor presented a video which they claim showed Bachmann admitting to making the posts. The video from February 9th saw Bachmann downplaying the charges against him and the comments made on social media.
Speaking to PEGIDA followers he said that the words were nothing others hadn’t said in the privacy of their own homes.
Bachmann gave a rare interview with Breitbart London’s Raheem Kassam where he commented on what he said was the German media’s unfair portrayal of him and the PEGIDA movement. “All I want from the press is to be objective,” he said, “just put once what PEGIDA stands for.”
The trial is also not the first time there have been calls for taking the PEGIDA founder to court. Earlier this year Bachmann posted a picture on social media of him wearing a t-shirt that said, “rapefugees not welcome,” in the aftermath of the Cologne New Years Sex attacks that shocked Germany. The shirt was a play on the “refugees welcome” slogan that became a rallying cry for leftists at the start of the migrant crisis.