This is how the rule of law works! Why this judgment hits Höcke hard and is exactly right

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Written By Maya Cantina

After four days of negotiations, chairman Jan Stengel announced the verdict: Björn Höcke must pay 100 daily rates of 130 euros each for the use of the banned Nazi speech. In the end, the personal admission also helped of the AfD-Politician did not say that he “had the feeling of being a politically persecuted person.” Nor his claim that he had unknowingly used the banned slogan of the SA (Storm Division) of the NSDAP.

An argument that was not very credible from the start. If you listen more closely to Höcke’s speeches, you will soon notice that he often follows a pattern. In his 2018 conversation collection ‘Never Twice in the Same River’, he himself expressed his insidious goal: he works to push the boundaries of what can be said.

If the verdict becomes final, Höcke will have a criminal record

It is therefore completely understandable that the court did not believe the innocence performance of the high school history teacher, who Höcke was in the AfD before his political career.

At the end of a speech in May 2021 in Merseburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Höcke said: “Everything for our homeland, everything for Saxony-Anhalt, everything for Germany.” The third part of the triad is the forbidden slogan.

The chairman explained that the court was convinced that Höcke knew that the SA slogan was banned and used it anyway. “You are an articulate, intelligent man who knows what he is saying,” Stengel said.

Now you might think that a fine of 130,000 euros would be mild and easy to bear for someone like Höcke. This impression is deceptive: if the verdict becomes final, Höcke will have a criminal record. The Federal Central Register Act regulates which penalties are included in the police clearance certificate. According to paragraph 32, this is not only the case with fines up to 90 daily rates. However, the verdict is not yet final and an appeal is possible within a week.

The judgment shows that our constitutional state functions on the basis of existing legislation

The Thuringian AfD is classified as right-wing extremist by the state Office for the Protection of the Constitution, noting that Höcke is the state leader. With the current ruling, there are currently no direct consequences for his top candidacy in the state elections in Thuringia on September 1.

And yet, in addition to the heavy sentence for Höcke, the judge’s ruling also has a larger, overarching effect. He showed that our constitutional state functions on the basis of existing legislation. The SA statement ‘Everything for Germany’ is not an ‘everyday expression’, as Höcke very clearly argued, but rather a targeted and illegal violation of a taboo. Our state must defend itself with all its might against the return of such criminal Nazi rhetoric. To the Halle Regional Court’s credit, it did not allow any gray area or ambiguity here. The language of the Nazi dictatorship should no longer be used or repeated in our democratic state.

Höcke likes to present himself as a ‘politically persecuted person’

It is all the more remarkable that Björn Höcke likes to portray himself as a “politically persecuted person” and repeatedly blows the cover of freedom of expression. In style and argumentation with Donald Trump Similarly, Höcke and his lawyers attempted to discredit and delegitimize the court during the proceedings. They even spoke of a ‘politically motivated process’ in which ‘an example must be set’.

In reality, the trial was about something completely different and down-to-earth: namely, determining whether or not the symbols of unconstitutional and terrorist organizations were used. The Halle district court has drawn a red line here. With a clear signal to the AfD about where the constitutional limits of their language and messages lie.

You can still say that, right? No, we will not use such solutions in the future.

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