German politician appeals sentence over Nazi & Auschwitz tattoos, gets harsher punishment

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A German politician who landed in hot water after being caught with tattoos of a Nazi slogan and the notorious Auschwitz death camp has appealed his sentence – but instead of receiving a lesser punishment, he received a more severe one.

Far-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) politician Marcel Zech, 28, received an eight-month jail sentence at a district court in Neuruppin on Monday, after being found guilty of public incitement caused by his tattoos of a Nazi slogan and Auschwitz.

The ruling, passed down during Zech's appeal, is harsher than the six-month suspended sentence originally given to the politician in December 2015.

Following the ruling, Judge Jörn Kalbow told DPA news agency that a lesser sentence could have been interpreted as “the state backing down in the fact of right-wing radicalism.”

The tattoo saga began in November 2015, when a shirtless Zech was spotted bearing the slogan ‘Jedem das Seine’ (To Each His Own), the slogan at the World War II Buchenwald concentration camp, on his back. Those words were beneath an image of the notorious Auschwitz death camp in Poland.

A reporter who happened to be at the pool took a picture of Zech's body art and posted it on Facebook.

In addition to the original six-month suspended sentence, Zech was ordered to hide the tattoos in public. His lawyer has since stated that the politician has covered up the Auschwitz drawing with another tattoo, though the slogan remains.

The attorney says the politician will appeal the Monday sentence.

Germany's constitutional court is set to deliver a verdict in January on whether the neo-Nazi NPD should be completely banned in Germany.

Meanwhile, far-right sentiments are continuing to gain popularity in Germany, as the country continues to struggle with the biggest refugee crisis since World War II. An October poll showed support for the controversial anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party up nine points from a year ago.