A firefighter has been fired from his position after being found guilty of incitement by a German court due to an anti-migrant post he made on Facebook.
A Meissen District Court fined the firefighter 2,400 euros for a post on Facebook of a machine gun which he captioned: “The fastest asylum procedure in Germany. Rejects up to 1,400 asylum applications in one minute.” Whilst the man appealed against the court judgement, his employer told him that if convicted he would also lose his job, Sächsische Zeitung reports.
The same court also saw a similar case occur earlier this year when a 27-year-old farmer was found guilty of hate speech after he called asylum seekers drecksvolk or “filthy people” on Facebook. The farmer made the comments after two asylum seekers from North Africa had stolen sheep from his property.
The two asylum seekers, aged 22 and 28, were investigated for the crime but the investigation was later dropped by the local prosecutor as they did not feel they had enough evidence to convict the men beyond a reasonable doubt.
The farmer himself, meanwhile, was convicted of hate speech and sentenced to a 1,350 euro fine. The farmer and his lawyer have appealed the fine and the process is still ongoing.
Hate speech laws in Germany have been the subject of intense discussion since the start of the migrant crisis, and many have criticised Justice Minister Heiko Maas of the Social Democrats (SPD) who hired former Stasi agent Anette Kahane to advise the government’s censorship campaign.
Since 2015, many Germans have been convicted of hate speech or incitement to racial hatred for comments often against asylum seekers. In one case, a couple in Vierkirchen were sentenced to a suspended prison sentence for the husband and a fine of over 1,000 euros for the wife for setting up an anti-asylum seeker Facebook group.
Other Germans suspected of breaking the hate crime legislation have had their homes raided by police. In one operation alone, police raided the properties of 60 individuals last year.
Federal Criminal Police president Holger Münch said after the raids: “The number of cases of right wing, politically motivated hate crimes on the Internet has increased significantly in the wake of the European refugee situation,” adding that hate speech should not be allowed to “poison the social climate”.
Individuals are not the only targets of the German hate speech laws as authorities passed new legislation in June that could see social networking sites fined up to 50 million euros for not removing hate speech content or “fake news”.