German man on trial for racist attack on Indians


Leipzig (Germany) : A man was set to go on trial Tuesday in Germany over a racist attack on a group of Indians in the eastern town of Muegeln, which caused an international furore.

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He was the fourth to be charged over the August violence, in which a brawl blew up at a dance party and eight Indians were chased across a street. The mob of German youth tried to break into a pizza parlour where the Indian men had taken refuge.

The man, 23, faces charges of race hate, which is part of the crime of sedition, and damaging property. His appearance in the district court in Oschatz, eastern Germany, will be the first time the charges are aired in public.

He has not admitted the charges. The court is expected to pass verdict the same day.

The incident, in which the mob yelled racist slurs, caused outrage in Germany and India, occurred in the early hours of August 19 as a town festival attended by both Indians and Germans was drawing to a close.

A mob of around 50 pursued eight Indians across a street after an incident on a dance floor set up on the town square. They took refuge in a pizzeria run by one of the Indians. News pictures of the beaten Indians were shown around the world.

The Indian manager of the pizza parlour, who was one of the injured, will be among the eight witnesses.

Prosecutors said four of the other Germans who were present were also investigated, but there was not enough evidence to prosecute them.

Two police officers were also injured in the incident, which provoked soul-searching in Germany about a long and continuing series of racist incidents, mainly in the eastern states that once formed communist East Germany.

Prosecutors in the nearby city of Leipzig said they were still investigating the brawl on the dance floor and treating this as a separate incident, as testimony about it was contradictory.

A youth, 18, was last week given a fine of 600 euros ($900) by the court. That hearing was closed to the media because of his age. Two other Germans have received summary fines of 1,500 and 2,625 euros.

A 22-year-old man is appealing against his summary fine and his case is likely to be heard in January.