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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Holocaust Bill Passed

BONN () -- The German parliament's lower house approved an anti-crime bill Wednesday which includes a provision making the denial of the Holocaust a criminal offence punishable with up to five years in prison.


The bill, agreed by Chancellor Helmut Kohl's coalition and the opposition Social Democrats after months of wrangling, also includes a controversial provision allowing police and prosecutors to use information gathered by the German espionage agency BND.


The anti-crime package, intended partly to stop voters drifting to right-wing parties in October's general election, gives police and prosecutors more powers to crack down on small-time criminals, organized crime and violence.


Apart from jail sentences for the so-called "Auschwitz lie" -- denying that the Holocaust happened -- the bill extends an existing ban on the use of Nazi symbols in Germany to slogans and signs that simply resemble Nazi symbols.