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EU country seeks to change Nazism law

Initiative comes after an Austrian military officer reportedly made Nazi salutes in public

Austria wants to tighten laws against Nazism after media revealed that a military officer has remained in service despite having been caught wearing a Nazi-style uniform and performing the Hitlerian extended-arm salute. Military officials say he has been demoted to non-military duties.

Justice Minister Alma Zadic and Constitution Minister Karoline Edtstadler announced a plan on Friday to change the law in order to have civil servants automatically fired if they are found guilty of violating the Prohibition Act, a piece of post-World War II legislation that bans Nazism.

“Anyone convicted under the Prohibition Act has no business in civil service,” the justice minister told reporters at a press conference.

Any form of the glorification of Nazism is an intolerable attack on our democratic society. There must be zero tolerance here.

The move comes after newspaper Kurier reported on Wednesday that a 36-year-old junior officer from Austria’s southern state of Carinthia had made an “SS uniform” that included a helmet with a swastika, using Nazi memorabilia he had ordered online. The man had reportedly posed in the uniform for photographs and made the infamous Nazi salute on different occasions, including in a mess hall at a sports club, on a football field, and in front of fellow soldiers in a barracks.

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According to Kurier, a court in Klagenfurt fined the officer €1,200 ($1,166) this summer and handed him a ten-month conditional prison term. However, the disciplinary official at the Defense Ministry had not requested for the defendant to be dismissed.

After the story broke, the Austrian Ministry of Defense released a statement, reporting that the officer had been “immediately relieved of his duties and is employed in a non-military function.”

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen said he was “shocked” after learning of the officer’s behavior. Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner described his actions as “incredible misconduct,” adding that the authorities must do more to “promote awareness” among military personnel.

Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1938 and regained independence after WWII. It was declared a neutral sovereign state in 1955, when the Allied occupation ended.

https://ift.tt/JNQt7Iq 15, 2022 at 05:26PM
from RT – Daily news

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