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Fri, 02 Feb 2001 13:25:42 -0500


Friday, Feb. 2, 2001

                              German Teen Skinheads Jailed for Vagrant
Murder

                              SCHWERIN, Germany (Reuters) - Three
teenage German
                              skinheads received prison sentences of
three to 12 years for the
                              brutal killing of a homeless man last
summer, a court official in the
                              east German town of Schwerin said on
Friday.

                              The sentences fell short of those sought
by prosecutors, who
                              wanted terms up to life imprisonment for
one of the defendants for
                              beating to death the sleeping 51 year-old
vagrant.

                              The three attackers on trial were aged
between 16 and 19. The trial
                              of a 24 year-old alleged to be the main
assailant has been delayed
                              so that he can undergo psychological
testing.

                              The incident, in the Baltic Sea resort
island of Usedom, attracted
                              substantial attention in Germany,
following a spate of anti-Semitic
                              and racist attacks.

                              Under pressure to react to a reported rise
in far-right violence,
                              Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government
has moved to ban the
                              National Democratic Party (NPD), a some
6,000-strong grouping it
                              sees as a breeding ground for neo-Nazi
violence.