Germany Seeks Tougher Hate Crime Laws

AP, Jan. 15, 2007

Germany’s justice minister said Sunday her country will push the European Union to adopt tough new rules to criminalize incitement of hatred and acts of racist violence within the 27-nation EU—including denying the Holocaust.

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Zypries and German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who are hosting the meeting, have put the issue on the agenda of the two-day talks and of Germany’s six-month EU presidency.

She urged EU nations to agree on new common rules to combat racism and xenophobia within the EU as soon as possible, including the introduction of minimum EU-wide jail terms—which she said should be between one and three years—against those who purposely incite racist violence or hatred, or those who deny the genocide of Jews during World War II.

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EU nations have been at pains to agree on common rules to combat racism and xenophobia in recent years, amid heightened ethnic and cultural tensions across Europe. EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini said, however, that a compromise could be reached to ensure that personal freedoms were not encroached upon.

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Many EU nations already ban denials of the Holocaust including Germany, France, Spain, Austria and Belgium.

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