Duke vs. Deutschland
Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke on Thursday vowed to fight his arrest in Germany as an "undesirable foreigner".
Duke, who once peddled Nazi propaganda from his legislative office in Louisiana, was arrested last Friday en route to Cologne, where he planned to address 60 members of a German white power group called Outside the Network.
When German officials got wind of Duke's impending speaking engagement, they deployed 100 officers sweep the city for Duke and his would-be audience.
The 61-year-old white supremacist - and America's leading preacher of white power and racist vitriol - was dubbed an "undesirable foreigner" by German officials and detained in Cologne. He was jailed for violating travel restrictions connected to an earlier ban by Switzerland, the Times-Picayune of New Orleans reports.
Cologne police say Duke was subsequently released and left the country. They said they were not aware of his current location.
According to reports, however, Duke found safe haven in Austria from where he is seeking to sue the German government.
The Times-Picayune said Duke wrote in a website message that he was "imprisoned by a gross twisting of travel laws in a blatant attempt by the government to prevent a private and peaceful gathering of about a 100 German citizens eager to hear my message of heritage and freedom."
"As much as I would like to, I can't just go back to Louisiana right now as I have to fight this improper action against me and our brothers and sisters," the blog post reads, according to the newspaper.
Duke, left the KKK in 1980 but continued to air his views through the National Association for the Advancement of White People, served three years in the Louisiana state Legislature, and ran unsuccessfully for governor and the U.S. Senate.
In 2002, he served 15 months in prison on a federal tax fraud conviction.
Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, said Wednesday that Duke's arrest “sends an important signal that firm action against those who advocate hate must remain central to Germany’s moral and legal agenda.”