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European court rejects German far-right teacher’s appeal against blacklist

Illustrative -- A man participates in a demonstration of the German far-right party 'Die Rechte' in Ingelheim, Germany, April 20, 2019. (Boris Roessler/dpa via AP)
Illustrative -- A man participates in a demonstration of the German far-right party 'Die Rechte' in Ingelheim, Germany, April 20, 2019. (Boris Roessler/dpa via AP)

The European Court of Human Rights rejects a German teacher’s appeal against being blacklisted for her far-right activities because they are considered incompatible with Germany’s constitution.

Ingeborg Godenau, who has a long history of involvement with far-right parties and groups, had petitioned the court to order her name removed from a list of teachers “deemed unsuitable for reappointment to a teaching post” that was compiled in 2009 by authorities in the central state of Hesse.

The woman said that as a result of the listing, all her applications for teaching posts had been unsuccessful and she had been unemployed and living off welfare benefits ever since.

Godenau argued that her inclusion breached article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights guaranteeing freedom of expression and opinion.

But in its ruling today, the Strasbourg-based court finds that German authorities hadn’t overstepped the law. The authorities’ interference in her freedom of expression was “proportionate,” and she could seek judicial review of her listing in the domestic courts at any point, the ruling says.

It notes that German court rulings casting doubt on her loyalty to the constitution were based on “a well-reasoned assessment of the relevant facts” about her long-running involvement with the far right.

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