Soldier suspended over swastika flag
An Austrian soldier faces a trial for buying flags showing banned Nazi era signs and slogans while participating in an international peacekeeping mission.
A spokesman for the defence ministry said today (Tues) a colleague of the militiaman informed superiors when he showed the items to him while on patrol at the Golan Heights in Syria. Army officials said the incident was an isolated case, adding that the soldier was suspended. They explained Austrian prosecutors were already looking into the case. The member of an Austrian militia unit could face a fine or a prison term for publicly backing Nazi ideology. One of the flags he owned reportedly showed a swastika while the other one featured prohibited slogans.
Only last month, a 54-year-old man was sentenced to six months in jail by a court in Wiener Neustadt, Lower Austria, for glorifying the Third Reich. The man – a co-founder and former head of the banned Austrian Nationalist Party (NVP) – was found guilty of breaching Austrian anti-Nazi propaganda bylaws by celebrating late World War Two (WWII) era dictator Adolf Hitler’s birthday between 2007 and 2009. Prosecutors informed the court that he also gave the Nazi salute and praised banned symbols like the swastika as well as Hitler himself. Investigators said data found on the defendant’s computer confirmed his neo-Nazi attitude.