Although he has apologized for his actions, according to Scotland resident Mark Meechan, he set about to “p—s off” his girlfriend, and says that he’s no racist.

Now Meechan is on trial for hate crime charges—facing a year in prison.

“My girlfriend is always ranting and raving about how cute and adorable her wee dog is,” Meecham said. “And so I thought I would turn him into the least cute thing I could think of, which is a Nazi.”

The video shows the dog appearing to raise its paw in a Nazi salute when Hitler is heard proclaiming “Seig Heil,” as the dog watches footage of a rally during the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

Meecham can be heard on the footage asking the dog: “Buddha, do you want to gas the Jews?” and “Who’s a good wee Nazi?”

But, does this activity actually raise to the level of a hate crime?

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Scottish prosecutors say it does.

The “M8 Yer Dugs A Nazi” video, posted in April 2016, which has been viewed over 3 million times, shows the dog becoming agitated every time it hears the word “Jews.”

While some people clearly see the video as satire, others believe that it was anti-Semitic.

In an interview with Alex Jones, Meecham said that shortly after posting the video he received a visit from police to his North Lanarkshire, Scotland residence. Officers informed him that the video promoted violence against Jews, and placed him under arrest.

Meecham is now on trial for violating the Communications Act of 2003, which criminalizes the use of public telecommunications to send messages that discriminate against others based on their religious beliefs

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Critics of the video claim that it crosses the line from satire, to promoting violence against Jews—with some claiming that any comedy using anything Hilter, or Nazi related, normalizes Nazism.

Scottish prosecutors allege that by posting a video on YouTube that was “anti-Semitic in nature,” the material communicated would cause fear and alarm, and stir up religious based hatred, according to the Telegraph.

He also faces an alternative charge of posting a video on social media and YouTube that was grossly offensive because it was “anti-Semitic and racist in nature,” according to The Washington Post.

The prosecutors say the act was aggravated by religious prejudice, a claim Meechan disputes.

“I feel in the long run I didn’t do anything wrong,” he told Jones of InfoWars. “It was clearly satire. It was clearly a joke. I wasn’t setting out to cause any offense to any people. If anything I was wanting people to laugh and just obviously, it was taken the wrong way.”

Meecham says that if he is found guilty, he faces a year in prison.

Cases like this reveal exactly why the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment is so crucial.

While some speech may be extreme and repulsive, the prohibition on certain ideas, even the most repugnant, being put into the public marketplace of ideas is a fast track to totalitarian governmental control—essentially legitimizing the “thought police.”

Similar “hate crime” laws are common across much of Europe.

Recently, an 87-year-old woman was arrested and sentenced to 10-months in jail after being convicted of violating German hate speech laws after claiming that Jews were never exterminated in Auschwitz.

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Dubbed the neo-Nazi grandma, Ursula Haverbeck—who is well known for her extremist right-wing views—was convicted in a German court of violating hate speech laws.

According to German state-run broadcaster, Deutsche Welle:

A court in Detmold on Friday sentenced Ursula Haverbeck to eight months in jail on charges of sedition. The presiding judge ruled out the possibility of parole and said that Haverbeck had a lack of “any kind of respect” and that she had made more offensive comments in the courtroom.

Haverbeck is expected to appeal against the sentencing. In Germany, anyone who publicly denies, endorses or plays down the extermination of Jews during Adolf Hitler’s regime can be sentenced to a maximum of five years in jail.

Haverbeck was found guilty of writing a letter to Detmold’s mayor, Rainer Heller, saying it was “clearly recognizable” that Auschwitz was nothing more than a labor camp. She wrote her message at the time when the Detmold court was trying Reinhold Hanning, a former guard who served at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

In Germany, Volksverhetzung, or in English “incitement of the masses,“instigation of the people,” is a concept in German criminal law that refers to incitement to hatred against segments of the population and refers to calls for violent or arbitrary measures against them, including assaults against the human dignity of others by insulting, maliciously maligning, or defaming segments of the population, according to WikiPedia.

In the U.S., incitement of violence is criminal, but “assaults against human dignity of others by insulting, malicious maligning, or defaming segments of the population” are considered an exercise of free speech, and are protected under the First Amendment.

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Even the most crude or hurtful speech must be protected to safeguard against unwarranted exercise of governmental power in the form of the widespread censoring of thoughts and ideas that the government doesn’t approve of—in the name of “keeping people safe.

Unless inciting violence, the right of the people to share ideas—no matter how repugnant—is not something that governmental authorities should have the ability to censor as it is seemingly the most basic of all natural rights.

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” — Hall in Friends of Voltaire

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Jay Syrmopoulos is a geopolitical analyst, freethinker, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs and holds a BA in International Relations. Jay's writing has been featured on both mainstream and independent media - and has been viewed tens of millions of times. You can follow him on Twitter @SirMetropolis and on Facebook at SirMetropolis.