Brazilian skinheads convicted for assaulting Jewish men wearing kippas 13 years ago


RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Three neo-Nazis who attacked a group of Jews on a Brazilian street in 2005 were sentenced to prison.

They were charged with attempted aggravated murder; the charge also reflected the fact that one of the crime motivations was religious, reported Folha de S. Paulo newspaper about the Wednesday trial, where Nazi flags with swastikas and other Nazi material were displayed.

“On the day the Jewish community celebrates Yom Kippur, also known as Day of Judgment, three skinheads were convicted of the 2005 aggression. It brings the feeling that justice was done,” said Zalmir Chwartzmann, president of the Rio Grande do Sul state Jewish federation. He added that the unprecedented decision raises awareness about the dangers of hate speech and intolerance.

The Jewish men wearing kippahs were attacked when walking on a street in Porto Alegre. The skinheads spotted them from inside a bar and came out to beat them and stab one of them in the stomach.

While the Jewish men were being assaulted, three skinheads prevented other people from intervening to help the victims. Each attacker was given a slightly different sentence due to the kind of participation in the attack. Nine have been formally charged; after Wednesday six more will still face a judge.

“My mother has received calls in which nobody said anything, only played a German march,” declared one of the victims in court.

According to the prosecution, the defendants are part of a criminal organization of skinheads that preaches prejudice against certain racial and social groups, including Jews, blacks, homosexuals and punks.

“Today’s trial enters into the history of Brazilian justice, not only for the Jewish community, but for every society that needs to fight the hatred and hate speech of radicals,” Chwartzmann added.