Protesters at a rally against racism in Dresden, June 2020/Photo: power4africa e.V.

Controversial court verdict over Pegida attack on Pakistani in Dresden

Bob Hooda, writing from Dresden, says a court ruling in a case of physical assault against an immigrant in the eastern German city reveals institutionalised racism within the judiciary of the state of Saxony

On 29 July 2019, a 30-year-old Pakistani was first insulted by supporters of Pegida, a pan-European, anti-Islam, far-right political movement, and then given a bloody nose by a 75-year-old so-called marshal of the anti-immigrant group. At the end of September this year, the three defendants had to stand trial at the district court of Dresden for causing facial injury to the foreigner.

The judge already wanted to discontinue the proceedings due to lack of evidence, as he said. However, in an unusual show of support by the police, the officer in charge presented a video of the incident, which incriminated the Pegida marshal hitting the foreigner on the face.

The 75-year-old was the only one of the three accused who had no previous criminal record. Thus, the magistrate sentenced him to a fine of 500 Euros for negligent physical injury. His two young previously convicted supporters, however, were acquitted. This case is a perfect example of institutional racism within the judiciary at lower court level in Saxony.

It is imperative that this kind of behaviour by judges and even lawyers, some of whom may not even shy away from taking part in Pegida demonstrations, be addressed by the President of the Court. In a lower court in Dresden a tough German can get away telling an African “I will hit you on your mouth”.

Turning a blind eye to such malicious racial behaviour throws a bad light on the judicial system, especially in the year when Germany holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Awareness raising should therefore not be restricted to a social civic level but should in particular consider the deep-rooted racism anchored within the structures of the institutions.

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