As of: February 12, 2024, 3:00 p.m
A man from Wessobrunn was sentenced to prison for sedition.
© Arne Dedert/dpa/Symbolbild
A Wessobrunn man was charged with five cases of sedition, but was then acquitted - but he has to go to prison for another, without parole.
Wessobrunn - Unusual precautionary measures accompanied the trial before the Weilheim lay judges' court.
A second security gate was even set up.
But no criminal clan was paraded: a man in traditional costume took a seat in the dock.
However, the public prosecutor's accusation revealed much more than just a trivial matter.
In six cases, the defendant is said to have spread right-wing populist and conspiracy theory ideas as well as Nazi symbols on an account on the messaging service Telegram.
Pictures of Adolf Hitler, trivialization of the November pogroms in 1938 and parts of the banned “Horst Wessel Song” packaged in a poem were uploaded to the site between 2022 and 2023 and reached almost 20,000 followers.
Poem with phrases from a National Socialist song
The defense attorney made a statement on behalf of his client.
The Wessobrunner is “historically interested” and also an avowed patriot.
With the exception of the post, which shows him giving a military salute at an army memorial and is accompanied by a poem written by his own hand, the defendant denied having posted the messages himself.
The poem sometimes contains phrases from the National Socialist song in question, which even became the NSDAP party anthem during the Nazi era.
The excerpts “came to mind” by chance while he was writing his poems, he said through his defense attorney.
In fact, only short phrases match the SA's battle song.
If you take individual lines out of context, you could also assign verses from the German national anthem to the right-wing spectrum, the defense attorney noted.
The 30-year-old justified the inclusion of the lines in his poem, which is characterized by awe and pride, with his deeply rooted Christian faith.
A man from the Balkans is said to be in charge of the Telegram account
He was only one of eight operators on the Telegram account, which also has the word “contemporary history” in its title.
The statement said that a Gustl M. was in charge of running the account from the Balkans.
The defense attorney then presented a screenshot of a list that supposedly included the other masterminds.
During the course of the hearing, the invited police officers had to admit that they were in fact unable to provide any solid evidence that would convict Wessobrunner as the author of the remaining files.
Since Telegram usually does not release any further information, if you believe the screenshot and the accused's statements, the other seven operators of the account could also be considered for posting the images.
Prosecutor convinced the defendant was guilty
Because these can also be found in non-fiction books, the defense attorney wanted to know at what point the investigative authority would classify historical Nazi recordings as criminal.
After all, the books were dedicated to enlightenment.
The account in question also has the word “contemporary history” in the title.
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Wessobrunner was discovered through a trial in Lower Saxony.
Someone there had referred to a comparable previous account that was demonstrably operated by the defendant.
For the public prosecutor it was conclusively clear that the defendant had published the pictures.
“The admission raises more questions than it solves,” she said.
Because of its poor quality, she also found the screenshot of no evidentiary value.
Demanded three years in prison
She also demanded three years in prison because of the poem, which was partly “confusingly similar” to the Nazi song, and because of numerous previous convictions.
The defense lawyer vehemently opposed it and pleaded for acquittal.
It is “the task of the prosecution to prove the crime”.
So far, it has only been based on “pure speculation,” he explained.
Judge Lars Baumann also said, “It remains a strong assumption, but not a certainty.”
However, the poem, with its parallels to the Nazi battle song, was not without legal consequences.
For this, the defendant received a prison sentence of nine months - without parole.
According to the judge, the Christian ulterior motive seems “more like a pretext.”