Woman files criminal complaint against former lawmaker for statements about Nazism

A woman has made a criminal complaint against a former lawmaker, saying his recent comments about Nazism broke the law, a court spokesman said Tuesday.

Politician Siegfried Kampl argued in a debate last month that those who deserted from Nazi ranks were "comrade-murderers" and that there was a "brutal persecution of Nazis" after World War II.

The statements, first made in a debate in the upper house and later repeated in media interviews, sparked fierce criticism. Kampl resigned as a lawmaker last week. He is a member of the Union for Austria's Future, a Freedom Party spin-off created last month by populist Joerg Haider.

Gertrude Herzog, a resident in the southern city of Klagenfurt, filed a lawsuit Tuesday arguing that Kampl's statements violated a law that prohibits diminishing, denying or justifying the Holocaust in public, said Horst Pleschiutschnig, a spokesman for the Klagenfurt's prosecutor's office.

The prosecutor will now investigate the comments, Pleschiutschnig said.

The prosecutor's office in Vienna is investigating whether another upper house member's argument in a television interview that the existence of Nazi gas chambers should be "seriously debated" violated the law.

John Gudenus withdrew from the Freedom Party shortly after the program was broadcast but insists he'll remain a lawmaker.

Austria's 62-member upper house is largely powerless. Its members, elected by councils in the country's nine provinces, are tasked with watching out for provincial interests, but parliament's directly elected lower house can overrule most of their objections.


On the photo: Siegfried Kampl

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