German far-right lawmaker convicted of defamation

The deputy leader of Germany's far-right National Democratic Party has been convicted of defamation over a 2010 speech in which he criticized a Holocaust memorial event.

A regional court in the north German city of Schwerin sentenced state lawmaker Udo Pastoers on Thursday to an eight-month suspended prison term.

The court also found Pastoers guilty of disparaging the memory of the deceased when he described the Holocaust memorial event — held in the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania state parliament — as "theater."

The charges of defamation and disparaging the dead are unrelated to the offense of Holocaust denial, which is also a crime in Germany.

Pastoers has a week to appeal the verdict.

The NPD has been trying to tone down its extremist image to avoid a possible ban.