The leader of a Slovak far-right party with seats in parliament was found guilty of illegally using neo-Nazi symbols and received a six-month suspended sentence handed down by the country’s Supreme Court.
The ruling came after the high court dismissed a lower court’s decision to sentence Our Slovakia party leader Marian Kotleba to four years and four months in prison for the offense, the Associated Press reported.
Kotleba was on trial for giving three impoverished families checks for 1,488 euros on March 14, 2017. That day was the anniversary of the creation of the Slovak Republic (1939-1945), a client-state of Nazi Germany.
According to the ADL, “1488” is a hate symbol, a combination of two white supremacist numeric symbols, with 14 being short for the “14 Words” slogan ("We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children”) and 88 standing for “Heil Hitler” (H being the eighth letter of the alphabet).
“Together, the numbers form a general endorsement of white supremacy and its beliefs. As such, they are ubiquitous within the white supremacist movement,” the ADL states on its website.
The Tuesday ruling by the Slovak Supreme Court is not appealable.
Kotleba was originally convicted in October 2020 by the Specialized Criminal Court in Pezinok.
In 2016, Kotleba’s party shocked observers when it won seats for the first time, gaining 14 seats in Slovakia’s elections.