Branding migrants ‘scum’ could earn PEGIDA leader five years in slammer

Lutz Bachmann of anti-immigration group PEGIDA, a German abbreviation for "Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West". © Hannibal Hanschke
Germany’s strict laws against hate speech could land the leader of anti-Islam group PEGIDA a five-year prison stretch, after he allegedly branded migrants “scum” and “cattle” on social media.

More than a year after photos emerged online of him sporting a Hitler mustache and side-part, incendiary PEGIDA founder Lutz Bachmann is due to be hauled in front of a German judge in Dresden.

Ironically, it’s the Fascist dictator upon whom Bachmann once styled his hair that most influenced Germany’s public disturbance and anti-hate laws.

Bachmann’s charges relate to comments made last October on the PEGIDA Facebook page, the online platform from where the controversial xenophobic movement first rose to prominence in late 2014.

On Monday, Bachmann was accused of having “disrupted public order” for publishing derogatory and undignified comments last October, report The Local.

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The group’s social media page has more than 200,000 supporters. Protest marches against the Islamification of the West are organized and celebrated on the site.

Bachmann later admitted his comments were “ill-considered”, according to DW.com.

Section 130 of the German Criminal Code suggests Bachmann could face a lengthy prison sentence of up to five years if he is found to have spouted hate propaganda.

“Whoever, in a manner capable of disturbing the public peace… incites hatred against a national, racial, religious group or a group defined by their ethnic origins, against segments of the population… assaults the human dignity… shall be liable to imprisonment from three months to five years,” the law states.

Bachmann is due in court next month. It’s another high profile scandal to dog the organization, after the 42 year old was forced to temporarily step down in 2015 over a Facebook image showing him looking very much like Adolf Hitler.

He later explained it was an attempt at satire and was reinstated as the group’s leader in February, 2015.