Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Verdict expected for German politician Bjorn Hocke, accused of using Nazi slogan

German far-right politician of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) Bjorn Hocke arrives for a session of his trial over the alleged use of Nazi phrases, at the regional court in Halle, eastern Germany (Jens Schlueter/AP)
German far-right politician of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) Bjorn Hocke arrives for a session of his trial over the alleged use of Nazi phrases, at the regional court in Halle, eastern Germany (Jens Schlueter/AP)

A court is expected to deliver its verdict in the trial of one of the best-known figures in the far-right Alternative for Germany party, who is accused of knowingly using a Nazi slogan in a speech.

Bjorn Hocke went on trial at the state court in the eastern city of Halle in mid-April, months before an election in the state of Thuringia in which he plans to run for governor.

He is accused of using symbols of unconstitutional organisations, a charge that can carry a fine or a prison sentence of up to three years.

Bjorn Hocke arrives for a session of his trial over the alleged use of Nazi phrases, at the regional court in Halle, eastern Germany
Bjorn Hocke arrives for a session of his trial over the alleged use of Nazi phrases, at the regional court in Halle, eastern Germany (Jens Schlueter/AP)

Hocke is accused of ending a speech in nearby Merseburg in May 2021 with the words “Everything for Germany!”.

Prosecutors contend he was aware of the origin of the phrase as a slogan of the Nazis’ SA stormtroopers, but Hocke has argued that it is an “everyday saying.”

The former history teacher told the trial that he is “completely innocent” and described himself as a “law-abiding citizen”.

The 52-year-old Hocke is an influential figure on the hard right of Alternative for Germany, or AfD.

He has led the AfD’s regional branch in Thuringia since 2013, the year the party was founded, and is due to lead its campaign in a state election set for September 1.

He once called the Holocaust memorial in Berlin a “monument of shame” and called for Germany to perform a “180-degree turn” in how it remembers its past.

Germany Far Right
Bjorn Hocke speaks at the special plenary session of the Thuringia state parliament in Erfurt, Germany in 2021 (Jens Meyer/AP)

A party tribunal in 2018 rejected a bid to have him expelled.

A conviction wouldn’t necessarily have any direct effect on Hocke’s political ambitions.

Courts can in principle decide to bar a person who has been sentenced to at least six months in prison from voting or being elected for a time, but that is not automatic and the court already has indicated that a prison sentence is unlikely.

AfD is particularly strong in Germany’s formerly communist east, where Thuringia is located.

It’s unlikely that any other party will agree to work with Hocke and put him in the governor’s office, but AfD’s strength has made forming governing coalitions in the region very complicated.

The Thuringia branch of AfD is one of three that the domestic intelligence agency has under official surveillance as a “proven right-wing extremist” group.

On Monday, a court ruled in a separate case that the agency was justified in putting the whole party under observation for suspected extremism.

AfD has portrayed the designation as a political attempt to discredit the party and said it will seek to appeal.