• Björn Höcke, a prominent figure in Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany party, faces a second charge for using a Nazi slogan.
  • Already scheduled for trial, prosecutors aim to add this new charge to the proceedings.
  • Höcke is influential on the party’s hard right and set to lead its state election campaign.

Prosecutors said Wednesday that they have charged one of the most prominent figures in the far-right Alternative for Germany party with a second count of uttering a slogan used by the Nazis’ SA stormtroopers at a political event.

Björn Höcke was already scheduled to go on trial in Halle on April 18. Prosecutors in the eastern city said they would seek to have the new count added to those proceedings.

Höcke, 52, is the leader of the regional branch of Alternative for Germany, or AfD, in the neighboring state of Thuringia and an influential figure on the party’s hard right. He is set to lead its campaign in a state election set for Sept. 1.

FAR-RIGHT GERMAN POLITICIAN TO GO ON TRIAL FOR ALLEGED USE OF NAZI SLOGAN

In the case already scheduled for trial, Höcke is charged with using symbols of unconstitutional organizations. He is accused of ending a speech in Merseburg in May 2021 with the words “Everything for Germany!”

Prosecutors contend he was aware of the origin of the phrase as an SA slogan. They have said Höcke’s lawyers denied that his words had any “criminal relevance.”

In the new case, prosecutors allege that he repeated the offense at an AfD event in Gera, in his home state, on Dec. 12 last year, “in certain knowledge of the punishability” of the slogan.

They said in a statement that Höcke said “Everything for …” and encouraged the audience to shout “Germany!” Höcke hasn’t yet responded to the latest charges, they added.

AfD’s branch in Thuringia has a particularly radical reputation and is viewed by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency as a “proven right-wing extremist” group.

Höcke once called the Holocaust memorial in Berlin a “monument of shame” and called for Germany to perform a “180-degree turn” in how it remembers its past. A party tribunal at the time rejected a bid to have him expelled.

National polls in recent months have shown AfD in second place behind the mainstream conservative opposition, and the party is particularly strong in the formerly communist east.

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