A 62-year-old German woman has been fined 1,350 euros by the government after she shared and liked an anti-migrant joke picture on her Facebook page.
The 62-year-old Berlin resident Jutta B. from Lichtenberg was arrested and had her home raided by police after she shared a picture on Facebook entitled, “Do you have anything against refugees?” For sharing the picture, which included disparaging comments about migrants, the woman was sentenced to a 1,350 euro fine, German newspaper Berliner Morgenpost reports.
Since her arrest and subsequent fine, Facebook has banned Jutta’s account. In court, she claimed she had liked and shared the picture in question without fully reading the content. “I like to pass on funny things”, she told the court.
The prosecution referred to her actions as “an utterance capable of inciting hatred and denigration of the human dignity of others”.
The picture, which asked “Do you have anything against refugees?” had a number of answers including “Yes, machine guns and hand grenades”, was viewed and shared by a further 500 people, including one who reported the 62-year-old to the police.
In reaction, other Facebook users sent the pensioner abusive messages. The left-wing extremist group Anti-Fascist Action, or Antifa, sent the woman death threats. Antifa has a large presence in Berlin in what are called “autonomous communities” where they illegally squat in buildings and often riot and fight with police.
Hate speech in Germany has become an important issue for Angela Merkel’s government since the beginning of the migrant crisis in 2015. German police have raided dozens of homes over the period for hate speech, ranging from some promoting Nazism whilst others were simply classed as “xenophobic”.
In the aftermath of one operation that saw 60 homes raided, Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière justified the police actions saying “violence, even verbal violence, in any form and in any context” was “unacceptable”.
The German government made the controversial appointment of a former member of the infamous Communist East German Stasi to head up a patrol of comments on social media.
Former Stasi agent Anette Kahane, who runs the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, was the subject of protest by the hipster-right Identitarian youth movement who dressed up in old Stasi uniforms and posted the former Stasi logo on the doors of the foundation’s office.
62-year-old Jutta joins the growing number of people charged thousands of euros for “hate speech” including a 52-year-old computer scientist who complained that police were letting migrant shoplifters go, a 66-year-old who handed out leaflets that read “refugees go home”, and a couple who were fined for creating a Facebook group called the “anti-refugee movement”.