French neo-Nazis sent to prison

RFI, France/March 19, 2010

Twelve participants of a neo-Nazi organisation in suburban Paris have been sentenced to prison. The group, Nomad 88, gained public attention in May 2008 when three of its members went on a shooting spree to "purge" the suburbs of immigrants.

The sentences, handed down Thursday by the Regional Court in Evry, south of the capital, ranged from two weeks probation to two and a half years for membership of the violent gang, and for arms possession.

Two men, one of them the suspected leader of Nomad 88, were each ordered to pay damages of 5,000 euros.

Defence lawyer David Dassa-Le Deist welcomed the verdict as "balanced", while the public prosecutor, Marc de Cathelineau, said it did not judge the men "for their ideological aberration, but for their actions".

The men, who range in age from 20 to 37, had been arrested following their shooting spree at Saint-Michel-sur-Orge in May 2008, which did not leave any casualties.

During a house search, weapons as well as extreme-right literature and objects were found, among them some bearing the portrait of Adolf Hitler and the swastika.

The group called itself Nomad 88 in reference to "Heil Hitler", with H being the eighth letter in the alphabet.

Its rules stipulated that "to become a member you have to be white, national-socialist or racist".

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