The Halle regional court has sentenced AfD politician Björn Höcke to a fine for using the symbols of unconstitutional and terrorist organizations.

The Halle regional court ruled on Tuesday evening that he should pay 100 daily rates of 130 euros each. The 52-year-old had rejected the allegations in court. The verdict is not yet final and an appeal is possible within a week.

The presiding judge Jan Stengel said in the verdict that the court was convinced that Höcke knew that the SA slogan was banned and used it anyway. “You are an articulate, intelligent man who knows what he is saying,” Stengel said. The guise of freedom of expression was “severely strained” by the defendant. The court was also of the opinion that the decision to use the saying was spontaneous – “along the lines of: Let’s see how far I can go.”

After the verdict was announced, the public prosecutor’s office announced that it would examine legal remedies. If the verdict becomes final, Höcke will be considered to have a criminal record. The Federal Central Register Act regulates which penalties are included in the police clearance certificate. According to paragraph 32, this is not the case for fines of less than 90 daily rates.

The Thuringian AfD is classified as right-wing extremist by the state Office for the Protection of the Constitution and observes, Höcke is its state leader. There are no direct consequences for his top candidacy in the state elections in Thuringia on September 1st with the current ruling.

During the trial, Höcke previously accused the public prosecutor of a lack of neutrality. “They weren’t looking for moments of relief.” The politician also pointed out several times that he sees freedom of expression as restricted in Germany. The judge warned Höcke that he should comment on the matter and not give a campaign speech.

At a speech in May 2021 in Merseburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Höcke said at the end: “Everything for our homeland, everything for Saxony-Anhalt, everything for Germany”. The third part of the triad is a forbidden slogan. Höcke is on trial for using license plates of unconstitutional and terrorist organizations.

Höcke, a former history teacher, always rejected the accusation of knowingly using the SA slogans during the trial. “We have nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with dictatorship,” said the 52-year-old on Tuesday afternoon. He was not a supporter of the “terrible ideology” and asked for an acquittal. The verdict is expected on Tuesday evening.

In its final speech, the public prosecutor’s office called for a suspended prison sentence of six months. It is neither understandable nor credible that Höcke did not know that the slogan “Everything for Germany” was a banned SA slogan, prosecutor Benedikt Bernzen explained on Tuesday in front of the regional court in Halle.

The defense has called for acquittal. The saying had actually been forgotten, said defense attorney Ralf Hornemann in his final speech on Tuesday. It was not Höcke, but the public prosecutor’s office who ensured that numerous people now knew him.

Espionage scandal, falling poll numbers and now this: the AfD’s appeal against its classification as a suspected right-wing extremist case by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution has been rejected. Two political scientists are now predicting tough times for the AfD.

The Greens a “right-wing party”? In China’s press already. The background: China wants to drive a wedge between the countries of the West and their governments. Being right-wing extremist, “far right”, in the Chinese context is also a reference to the past .