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May 12, 2022 11:13 am
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Antisemitic German COVID-19 Conspiracy Theorist Will Face Incitement Charges After All

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

German COVID-19 conspiracy theorist Sucharit Bhakdi. Photo: Screenshot.

An outspoken COVID-19 conspiracy theorist in Germany who was cleared of antisemitic incitement charges last November is to face criminal proceedings after all.

The public prosecutor in the state of Schleswig-Holstein announced on Thursday that Sucharit Bhakdi — a former professor of microbiology at the University of Mainz who emerged as a vocal conspiracy theory advocate at the height of the pandemic — would now have to answer to incitement charges on two separate counts.

The charges relate to comments Bhakdi made in a video that was widely circulated online to support his failed bid for election to the German parliament. Bhakdi, a German citizen born in the US to parents who were Thai diplomats, said that Jews were a people who had “learned the evil” from their Nazi persecutors.

“The people who fled this country, where there was arch evil, and founded their own country, they have turned their country into something that is even worse than [Nazi] Germany was,” Bhakdi opined.

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“That’s the bad thing about Jews: They learn well,” he continued. “There is no people that learns better than they do. But they have now learned the evil — and implemented it. That is why Israel is now … a living hell.”

To the chagrin of Jewish leaders, the public prosecutor in the city of Kiel, the capital of Schleswig-Holstein, decided last November that Bhakdi’s remarks did not constitute incitement. “The statements of the accused in the video are directed primarily against the State of Israel as such, while drawing on the local policy in the context of measures to curb COVID 19 pandemic concerns,” a statement from the prosecutor’s office explained at the time.

In its statement on Thursday, the state prosecutor criticized the Kiel prosecutor’s position. “The investigations have been resumed because … the assessment of the process is legally doubtful and requires closer examination,” Wiebke Hoffelner, senior public prosecutor and spokeswoman for the Schleswig public prosecutor’s office, told the Tagesschau news outlet.

If convicted, Bhakdi would face penalties that range from a large fine to a prison sentence of five years.

Elio Adler — chairperson of the “Values Initiative,” a German-Jewish organization that lodged a complaint against the Kiel ruling — welcomed the prosecutor’s announcement. Asserting that the antisemitism in Bhakdi’s statements was “clear,” Adler added that the “possible criminal liability of these statements must be examined and negotiated in a procedure.”

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