German politician to pay £12,000 fine for insulting Bavarian leader

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Bavarian state premier Markus Söder

The leader of the Bavarian state branch of the far-right Alternative for Germany is to pay a fine of 12,000 pounds (about 20 million naira) over insulting comments about Bavaria’s state premier.

The AfD’s Stephan Protschka derided Bavarian state premier Markus Söder as “Södolf”, an apparent reference to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.

He had also called him a “traitor to the country” at a political event on Ash Wednesday in 2023 .

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The local public prosecutor’s office had brought a case against Protschka, but on Tuesday agreed to drop the proceedings in exchange for Protschka’s agreement to pay the fine.

The dismissal also came after Protschka’s defence attorney made a statement to the court in which he said that the AfD politician did not intend to insult Söder.

The AfD politician intended to make a point in a political debate.

Protschka did not intend to make allusions to Germany’s dark Nazi era, but instead had picked up on terms used by a previous speaker, his lawyer asserted.

Protschka now has until the end of August to pay the fine, said the judge.

In April, the Deggendorf district court had sentenced another speaker at the same event, the Austrian politician Gerald Grosz, to a fine of almost 15,000 pounds for insulting Söder.

Grosz had used the same terms as Protschka to describe Söder, the leader of Bavaria’s centre-right Christian Social Union (CSU).

Grosz argued in the court that his statements were satire, and appealed the verdict.

A court spokesman said the verdict against Grosz was not yet legally binding.

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