Horst Mahler, co-founder of the left-wing terror group Rote Armee Fraktion (Red Army Faction), spent ten years in prison for various acts of "revolutionary violence" committed in the late 1960s and early 1970s. (He was defended, incidentally, by former German Prime Minister Gerhard Schroeder and former Interior Minister Otto Schily.) Now a member of the neo-Nazi party NPD, Mahler is heading back to jail—this time for greeting Jewish journalist Michel Friedman, a longtime target of Mahler's anti-Semitic opprobrium, with "Heil Hitler, Herr Friedman!" According to this story in the German tabloid Bild, Mahler was sentenced to ten months in jail today. The DPA has what appears to be the only English-language account of the trial, explaining that Mahler was convicted of "sedition, using gestures of an anti-constitutional organization and criminal insult during the interview at a Munich airport hotel." Sedition? Mahler is a colossal scumbag—an anti-capitalist, anti-American, Holocaust-denying loon—but this is just silly:
Michel Friedman, 52, whose previous posts include deputy chairman of Germany's national Jewish body, justified the abrasive interview last October for a print magazine as his journalistic duty, saying he would never have given Mahler time for a private chat.
Vanity Fair's German edition contends that its publication of the interview in a 10-page spread revealed the absurdity of Holocaust denial. Friedman, who is also a lawyer, filed a police complaint against Mahler after their talk.
Mahler was ejected from the courtroom for misbehaviour after alleging that the Holocaust had not happened. Mahler confirmed saying "Heil Hitler." The judge said she found him incorrigible.
In 2006, he arrived at jail to serve a sentence and did the stiff- armed Heil Hitler salute at the gate. Nazi symbols are illegal in Germany.
He has also been active in and worked as lawyer for the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD). German authorities have confiscated Mahler's passport to stop him attending Holocaust denial events abroad.