Three German fraternity students who were charged with verbally and physically abusing a Jewish student received suspended sentences by a court in the town of Heidelberg in southwestern Germany.
The students were accused of beating the victim and berating him with antisemitic abuse.
The three defendants, from an elite fraternity, were given suspended sentences of eight months each with no fines by the court on Thursday, the Algemeiner reported.
A fourth fraternity member was acquitted of the assault.
The students from the University of Heidelberg were accused of attacking the student, who was a party guest, in the late summer of 2020. Police also expanded their investigation to focus on students from other universities who were attending the party, Deutsch Welle reported.
The party was hosted by the Burschenschaft Normannia Heidelberg fraternity on August 29, 2020 and attended by 27 people. The 25-year old victim, who belonged to a different fraternity, testified that when partygoers found out he was Jewish, they targeted him with antisemitic abuse and then threw coins at him. They also beat him on his back and his lower torso with belts.
That night he contacted the police and pressed charges.
Prosecutors tasked police with uncovering whether the incident was an antisemitic hate crime or a fraternity hazing ritual known as “belting,” German media reported in 2020.
"We are taking this case very seriously and have devoted a lot of personnel to finding out what happened since first hearing about it," said Christopher Weselek of the Mannheim Police Department.
German and Austrian fraternities, called Burschenschaften, have been accused of having far right nationalist sympathies, specifically the Heidelberg chapter of Normannia.
After the incident, Normannia’s website posted a statement saying that the current membership had been disbanded and that antisemitic behavior would not be tolerated.