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Germany weighing ban on neo-Nazi group

Jan. 17, 2013 at 4:35 PM

BERLIN, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- The German government is weighing whether to join a move to ban a neo-Nazi organization, the National Democratic Party, officials say.

Regional interior ministers requested the ban from the Constitutional Court in December, the EUobserver reported. The court ruled against a ban in 2003.

"The government will decide in March whether it will put forward a request to ban the NDP. There are constant discussions about it in the government," Georg Streiter, a spokesman for Prime Minister Angela Merkel, said Friday.

Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said the decision must be made with care. Norbert Lammer, chairman of the Bundestag and a member of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, said a ban would simply give the NDP more publicity.

Oskar Niedermayer, a political scientist at the Free University of Berlin, said the party should not be banned for holding anti-Democratic views. He said a ban requires proof that its leaders are dedicated to overthrowing democracy with force.

Supporters of a ban say the NDP has become more extreme, pointing to alleged links with anti-immigrant violence that has killed seven Turks and one Greek.

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