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 Posted Thursday, February 15, 2007

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 Canada Press
Thursday, February 15, 2007

Right-wing activist Ernst Zündel sentenced to 5 years for Holocaust denial

Ernst Zündel February 2007

MANNHEIM, Germany (AP) - Far-right activist Ernst Zündel was convicted of 14 counts of incitement Thursday, [February 15, 2007] for Holocaust denial and sentenced to the maximum five years in prison.

The 67-year-old, who was deported from Canada in 2005, was accused of years of anti-Semitic activities, including denying the Holocaust a crime in Germany in documents and on the Internet. Zündel and his supporters have argued that he is a peaceful campaigner denied his right to free speech.

Zündel has been a prominent white supremacist and Holocaust denier since the 1970s.

He ran Zündel ran Samisdat Publishers, a leading distributor of Nazi propaganda based in Canada. Zündel also provided content to The Zündelsite website, which has followers around the world, hundreds of whom have protested his detention.

Zündel was born in Germany in 1939. He came to Canada in 1958 and lived in Toronto and Montreal until 2001. Canadian officials rejected his attempts to obtain citizenship in 1966 and 1994.

He then moved to Tennessee, where he married fellow extremist Ingrid Rimland, but was deported to Canada in 2003 for alleged immigration violations. [Website note: since when he has been held in jail, four years in custody which the German courts have refused to offset against his prison sentence.]

Upon arrival in Toronto, Zündel was arrested and held in detention until a judge ruled in March 2005 that his activities posed a threat to national and international security, and he was deported to Germany.

That decision was welcomed by Jewish and anti-Nazi groups in Canada and elsewhere.

Zündel has been standing trial in Germany since November of last year in what were, at times, raucous proceedings.

The initial attempt to try him collapsed last March over a dispute with one of his attorneys, Sylvia Stolz.

At one stage she had to be carried from the courtroom, screaming "Resistance! The German people are rising up," after defying an order banning her from the trial on grounds she tried to sabotage the proceedings by denouncing the court as a "tool of foreign domination." In the current trial, defence attorney Ludwig Bock quoted from Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and from Nazi race laws in his closing statements last week as argued for Zündel's acquittal.

Bock accused the Mannheim state court of not wanting to face a "scientific analysis" of the Holocaust and charged that prosecutors one of whom has termed Zündel a "rat catcher" had defamed his client.

Herbert Schaller

Another of Zündel's five attorneys, Herbert Schaller, above, told the court that all of its evidence that the Holocaust took place was based only on witness reports, instead of hard facts.

Andreas GrossmannIn his own closing arguments, prosecutor Andreas Grossmann, right, called Zündel a "political con man" from whom the German people must be protected, widely quoting from his writings, which argue that millions of Jews did not die at the hands of the Nazis.

"You might as well argue that the sun rises in the west," Grossmann said when asking that Zündel be given the maximum sentence. "But you cannot change that the Holocaust has been proven.".

Our dossier on Ernst Zündel
2004 flashback: Ernst Zündel charged with incitement in Germany
2005 flashback: "A good investment" - Cost to Canadians of sending Zündel to his native Germany: $130,000. "The cost of the trip is not of great concern to members of the Jewish community, said Bernie Farber, executive director of the Canadian Jewish Congress."
The above news item is reproduced without editing other than typographical
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