Danish court convicts 2 over Jewish site, other vandalism

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Two Danish suspected neo-Nazis were convicted Friday of desecrating graves in the Jewish section of a churchyard in northwestern Denmark last year, as well as other acts of vandalism and racism.

Prosecutors said the men, aged 39 and 28, were members of the Nordic Resistance Movement, labelled as a neo-Nazi group that recently was banned in neighboring Finland.

The elder defendant, who allegedly had a senior role in the group, was given a one-year prison sentence. The other man was not sentenced because authorities are awaiting the results of a mental test.

The city court in Randers, some 177 kilometers (110 miles) northeast of Copenhagen, found both guilty of splashing paint on 84 tombstones in the town’s churchyard and knocking several over. They were also convicted over a separate incident in Randers, when paint was thrown over the facade of a bank decorated with two Stars of David. Both attacks were in November 2019.

The Randers court also found the men guilty of covering a bench with the rainbow colors in paint and stickers of the Nordic Resistance Movement in Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city. The bench had been painted by the city council and a local soccer club to celebrate sexual diversity.

Denmark’s Jewish Community expressed concern at the group’s activity.

“We consider the Nordic Resistance Movement with seriousness. Their anti-Semitic propaganda and delusions can inspire violent people,” said community head Henri Goldstein.

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