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Spain high court overturns convictions of Nazi propaganda disseminators

The Supreme Court of Spain [official website, in Spanish] on Friday overturned the convictions of four individuals charged with distributing neo-Nazi [JURIST news archive] propaganda. The four men were convicted [DPA report] and sentenced to up to three and a half years in prison by a court in Barcelona in October 2009 for advocating genocide and belonging to an illegal association. The men had been selling books and materials [AP report] that defended the Holocaust [JURIST news archive] from their bookstore and publishing house in Barcelona. The Court reasoned that disseminating Nazi ideology is not a crime [El Pais report, in Spanish] unless used to incite violence or certain danger, or create a hostile climate.

Several countries have taken strong stances against neo-Nazi propaganda and hate crimes. In July 2010, a Russian court sentenced 14 neo-Nazis [JURIST report], including a group leader and several teenagers, to jail terms for committing hate crimes against ethnic minorities in the country. In November 2009, the German Federal Constitutional Court upheld [JURIST report] legislation prohibiting public support and justification of the Nazi regime. The court reasoned that the restriction was necessary to protect public peace and the dignity of the victims of the Nazis, which it said were "supreme constitutional values" in Germany.

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