The district court in Mönchengladbach, a German city halfway between Düsseldorf and the Dutch border, has sentenced a 70-year-old man to a fine of 13 000 euros for posting critical comments on migration on Facebook.
The man had shown a photo of a stream of illegal immigrants on his publicly accessible Facebook page with the remark: “You cannot cope with a plague of ants by building walls. You have to stop leaving the honey pot open.”
The defendant did not speak in court, reported the regional German daily, the Rheinische Post. His defense lawyer pleaded for acquittal, since the entry falls under freedom of expression and his client expressed criticism of Germany’s government policy.
But the public prosecutor justified the indictment by saying that the Facebook post made a vulnerable group contemptuous and made a value judgment. The entry was “completely clear”. Therefore, the authority had demanded a fine.
According to the Rheinischer Post, when the verdict was pronounced, the judge also responded to the remark by the defendant in which he had stated, among other things, that illegals entering Germany were to be equated with a plague of ants. In his plea he had showed a “deepened awareness of the problem, but no remorse”.
The man’s lawyer appealed to the regional court on the day of the judgment.