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Germany court decision prompts call to amend law banning Nazi symbols

[JURIST] Germany [JURIST news archive] should consider amending its penal code to allow the use of swastikas in anti-Nazi materials, Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries [official profile, English version] said Monday. Zypries' remarks follow Friday's decision by a state court in Stuttgart [Deutsche Welle report] ordering Juergen Kamm to pay a fine of 3,600 euros (US $4,600) for selling T-shirts and badges featuring a swastika surrounded by a red circle and slash. The court accepted the prosecution's argument that allowing swastikas as a "fashion article" risks making them "socially acceptable" again.

A provision of the penal code [text] prohibits the "use of symbols of unconstitutional organizations," including the those of the "former National Socialist organization," and prescribes punishment of up to three years' imprisonment or a fine. Kamm's lawyer is planning an appeal to the Supreme Court [official website, in German]. If the lower court's decision is upheld, Zypries said, the law is "flawed" and will need to be rewritten. Reuters has more. Deutsche Welle has additional coverage. From Berlin, Die Tageszeitung has local coverage, in German.

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