Buenos Aires, 4 May 2018

Since March 2018, the Argentine Atlantic seaside resort, Mar del Plata, has been the site of first public trial against a Neo-Nazi group.

Their members had met to “hunt” down their targets, among them immigrants, homosexuals, or those whom they considered racially inferior. Physical assaults were accompanied by vandalism.

The Prosecutor had tried to negotiate with the accused to accept a minor penalty without imprisonment, by removing accusations of conspiracy and other violations of criminal law.

The Wiesenthal Centre led the charge against such accommodation in a public campaign to convince the judges not to yield to the Prosecutor and to impose an appropriate jail sentence.

Yesterday, the Court ruled that six of the defendants serve between 4 and 9 years in prison.

The judges argued that “if ideas are allowed to be imposed by force or fear, citizens could not feel themselves protected by a minimum of security.

“Latin America may eventually provide a new jurisprudence for democracies in Europe and beyond in the aftermath of its totalitarian military regimes. This trial is a mirror reflecting the defense of the republic,” said Dr. Ariel Gelblung, Representative of the Wiesenthal Center for Latin America.

The Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, emphasized that “Argentina, the country that – at the end of World War II – received the most Nazi war criminals, cannot afford leniency to neo-Nazis. Our Centre is proud of its role in this landmark case and will be vigilant in monitoring all future such dangers to democracy.”