German ‘Nazi grandma’ denied early prison release
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German ‘Nazi grandma’ denied early prison release

Though prisoners commonly released after serving two-thirds of their sentence, court decides not to free Holocaust-denying Ursula Haverbeck, 91

Ursula Haverbeck arrives in the Tiergarten District Court in Berlin, Germany, October 16, 2017. (Paul Zinken/dpa via AP)
Ursula Haverbeck arrives in the Tiergarten District Court in Berlin, Germany, October 16, 2017. (Paul Zinken/dpa via AP)

BERLIN — A German court decided Wednesday that a notorious 91-year-old neo-Nazi serving a two-year sentence for Holocaust denial shouldn’t be released early.

“Nazi grandma” Ursula Haverbeck was convicted of incitement by a court in the northern town of Verden in 2017 and started serving her sentence last year.

Haverbeck has repeatedly asserted that the Auschwitz death camp was just a work camp. She has been convicted several times but long avoided prison due to lengthy appeals. Germany’s highest court threw out her case against the Verden conviction.

It is common in Germany for people to be released after serving two-thirds of their sentence. But news agency dpa reported that the state court in Bielefeld, where she is in prison, said Wednesday it has decided not to release Haverbeck in January. It didn’t give reasons for the decision.

Haverbeck’s sentence is due to end next November.

Ursula Haverbeck, accused of hate speech, arrives in the court room of the District Court in Detmold for an appeal hearing, Germany, on November 23, 2017. (Bernd Thissen/dpa via AP, file)

She had previously been sentenced on several occasions to jail for denying the Nazi genocide, once declaring on television that “the Holocaust is the biggest and most sustained lie in history.”

German law makes it illegal to deny the genocide committed by Adolf Hitler’s regime, which in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in occupied Poland alone claimed some 1.1 million lives, mostly of European Jews.

Holocaust denial and other forms of incitement to hatred against segments of the population carry up to five years in prison, while the use of Nazi symbols such as swastikas is also banned.

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