COULD FACE UP TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON

Vienna streetcar conductor
fired over two forbidden words

Vienna tram driver in Nazi salute
BBC News  Tuesday, 28 October 2008
 
VIENNA — A [streetcar conductor] in Vienna has been sacked
after bidding farewell to passengers with the Nazi-era salute
"Sieg Heil!"

The Austrian capital's public transit authority Wiener Linien
said it had taken action after a report of the incident appeared
in a Jewish paper.

The 35-year-old driver reportedly said to passengers: "Can't you
take a joke?" He has since apologized.

The German phrase means "Hail Victory" and was frequently used
at mass Nazi rallies in the 1930s.  

The driver was running a city center route on Saturday night when
he bid travelers good night with the words over his public address
system.

The driver did not deny using the words.

Facing felony charge

Media reports said passengers had booed but that some accepted
his explanation that it was meant as a joke.

Germany's Der Spiegel quoted the transit authority as saying
the actions were "unspeakable".

A mobile phone video of the incident had been posted on Internet
site YouTube but has since been withdrawn.

A spokesman for the public prosecutors' office, Gerhard Jarosch,
told AFP news agency the driver could face prosecution.

If guilty, he could be given a jail sentence of up to 10 years.

Austria was annexed by Germany in 1938 and the use of Nazi
symbols is now a crime.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7695510.stm 



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