A computer scientist in Germany has been fined over 3,000 euros after he complained in 2015 that criminal asylum seekers were being let go by police after robbing supermarkets.
The 52-year-old German made his comments on August 22nd of 2015 at the height of the migrant crisis, Wochenblatt reports. He noted that asylum seekers were going into German supermarkets and helping themselves to items and instead of being arrested they were let go with warnings.
He wrote on Facebook: “I am in favour of the setting up of civil defences and the punishment of flogging, then they might feel at home when they get their skull smashed with a truncheon. Violence is probably the only thing that they understand, and we should try to make them understand us.”
After his post, the 52-year-old was arrested by police and taken to jail. He was then put on trial and accused of attacking asylum seekers’ human dignity, slandering them, and insulting them. He was eventually convicted and forced to pay a fine of 3,150 euros.
The verdict was initially appealed by the man’s defence lawyer as the computer scientist argued he was directing his anger at specific asylum seekers and not asylum seekers as a whole. He also claimed he was not the original author of the statement and had copied what he had seen written in a magazine online.
Landshut prosecutor Klaus Kurtz told the 52-year-old during the appeal he had gotten off lightly with the sentence he had already received. The man later withdrew his appeal to reduce the fine.
The case is another in a series of convictions in Germany for either speaking out about the migrant crisis or against migrant crime. Last year German police raided 60 homes in an operation against “xenophobic” speech online. Federal Criminal Police (BKA) president Holger Münch said the raids were to prevent “verbal radicalisation” online.
A couple in the German town of Vierkirchen were also sentenced for “hate speech” after they formed an anti-asylum seeker group on Facebook.
Peter M., one of the defendants, said after the conviction: “One can not even express a critical opinion of refugees without getting labelled as a Nazi. I wanted to create a discussion forum where you can speak your mind about refugees.”
More recently the German government has set its sights on the social media companies themselves. Last month the German government was slammed by social media giants after passing a law that would introduce heavy fines for sites who do not remove hate speech posts in a timely manner.