Sunday, July 15, 2012
The right to self-defense in Germany
A German neo-Nazi who drove into a group of leftists, leaving one with a brain injury, has been acquitted of attempted manslaughter. The judge found that he was acting in self-defense. The 29-year-old accused was sitting in his car in a car park when he was approached by a group of left-wing extremists, who had their faces covered. The neo-Nazi reacted by starting the ignition and driving into them at speed, hitting a 22-year-old. The young man suffered a severe head injury and hemorrhaging, and continues to suffer from a speech impediment and motor dysfunctions. But a Freiburg court acquitted the neo-Nazi of all charges. The judge ruled that he had acted in self-defence while trying to escape, and that the prosecution had failed to prove that he was deliberately trying to harm anyone. "Justice is not biased," the judge said in her closing statements, adding that the trial had not been about political views, but whether a crime had been committed. She argued that the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" also applied to neo-Nazis. I very much doubt that anyone in the NAACP, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ADL or the Obama administration would agree with the judge. Good for her!