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Germany right-wing politician charged with inciting racial hatred

[JURIST] German prosecutors Tuesday charged [press release, in German] the chair of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) [party website, in German] with libel and inciting racial hatred for comments he made about a German soccer player. Udo Voigt [party profile, in German] and two other party officials allegedly published a pamphlet and circulated online messages before the 2006 World Cup saying that soccer player Patrick Owomoyela [team profile] should not be on the German soccer team because he is black. The NPD has called the charges "absurd" [NPD press release, in German].

Voigt has been under scrutiny for racial remarks since August 2007, when he nominated a Nazi officer for the Nobel Peace Prize [Spiegel report]. In 2005, the president of Germany's Constitutional Court [official website] said that despite the failure of past government efforts, the NPD could still be banned under German law [JURIST report], renewing interest in outlawing the controversial group. To date the Federal Ministry of the Interior has banned [backgrounder] 24 right-wing extremist groups. Reuters has more. Spiegel Online has local coverage.

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