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November 17, 2022 08:15 pm | Updated 08:15 pm IST – Frankfurt
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A Frankfurt court on Thursday sentenced a German man to almost six years in jail for sending threatening messages to politicians and other public figures under a neo-Nazi pseudonym.
The 54-year-old, named Alexander M., was found guilty of sending emails, text messages and faxes signed "NSU 2.0" between August 2018 and March 2021.
The name is a reference to the National Socialist Underground, a shadowy neo-Nazi cell that committed a string of racist murders in the 2000s.
The recipients were mainly politicians in the state of Hesse but also lawyers and journalists, most of them women.
The court sentenced the accused to five years and 10 months in jail.
Judge Corinna Distler said the victims had felt helpless and traumatised, and the case showed "how terrible it can be when human dignity is debased by language".
When Alexander M. was arrested in May 2021, prosecutors said he had already been convicted in the past of crimes linked to the far right.
Investigators had initially suspected that the police in Hesse may have been involved, as information on the people threatened had been collected from police computers.
However, Distler on Thursday said she was satisfied that Alexander M. had acted alone.
Germany has been rocked by several far-right assaults in recent years, sparking accusations that the government was not doing enough to stamp out neo-Nazi violence.
The assassination in June 2019 of pro-migration politician Walter Luebcke shocked the country and highlighted the growing threat of right-wing extremism.
The original NSU murdered 10 people and planted three bombs before it was uncovered in 2011.
The victims were eight Turkish immigrants, a Greek and a German policewoman.
The murders went unsolved for years as investigators focused in error on members of Germany's immigrant communities.
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