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Naational Post

Toronto, Canada, Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Right: Zündel at a Sept 1992 meeting of David Irving's Clarendon Club in London


A good investment': Cost of sending Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel to Germany: $130,000

by Adrian Humphreys,
National Post

IT cost the Canadian government about $130,000 to fly Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel to his native Germany, where he remains in prison.

The cost of the forced removal, after Zündel was declared a dangerous white supremacist by a Federal Court of Canada judge, includes the chartering of a private jet for the March 1 flight, a $365 catering bill for the passengers, and hotel and overtime bills for three escorting officers, according to documents released to the National Post under the Access to Information Act.

The largest single cost was $118,080 for the Challenger 604 jet, the same type of aircraft used by the Prime Minister, from Skyservice Aviation Inc.

More than $9,000 went to other aircraft expenses, including flight crew expenses and airport landing fees. Two immigration officers escorting Zündel out of Canada also stayed overnight in a German hotel before returning.

Their overtime bill was $784, according to the documents.

(An RCMP officer also accompanied Zündel to Germany, but his expenses and overtime bill are not included in the totals provided as they were covered by another government department.)

Shortly after his removal, Zündel marvelled at his good treatment in a letter to his wife, Ingrid Rimland: "After two years I had my first real, heavenly coffee, lavish, magnificent food, everything top-notch, big fat strawberries, grapes as big as plums, all kinds of [tropical] fruit, chocolate, cakes, pies," he wrote.

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.

"This was a good investment, no matter what the cost of getting rid of him," Mr. Farber said.

"To those whom he persecuted and to those he tried to poison Canadians against, I think all they're saying is, 'We're glad he's sitting in a jail in Germany and not in Canada.' It should have been done years ago."

Zündel's deportation is by far the most expensive of recent forced immigration removals, according to the government documents provided.

In contrast to his flight, a security case removal to Denmark -- a comparable distance to Zündel's trip to Frankfurt -- aboard a chartered jet on June 4, 2004, cost only $20,660.

There have been other chartered planes used for removals in the past year, but many are joint Canada-U.S. flights, a move aimed at reducing costs. A September, 2004, joint flight to Nigeria removing nine people cost Canada $28,223, for example.

Amelie Morin, a spokeswoman for the Canada Border Services Agency, said there was a deportation to Israel in 2004 that cost $144,000 and one to Tunisia that cost $78,000.

"The costs vary on different factors, including the final destination, how many resources we need on board, how many officials we need to escort this person or these people on the plane. The cost of Mr. Zündel's removal on a charter is not out of the ordinary," Ms. Morin said.

"Chartered flights are used on rare occasions when we cannot remove a person on a commercial carrier for various reasons, such as security [concerns], as was the case with Mr. Zündel.

"There is no price tag on our security."

Meanwhile, in Germany, prosecutors holding Zündel for Holocaust denial and inciting hatred have cited three allegedly offending documents on Zündel's Web site and a comment Zündel made in one of his "Power Letters" to his followers, according to Ms. Rimland in a message sent to supporters.

Zündel told her that 60 kilograms of allegedly "incriminating" documents have been released to his attorney in Germany for preparation of his trial, which is not yet scheduled.

Zündel lived in Canada for decades until moving to the United States in 2000; he was deported back here by U.S. officials on Feb. 18, 2003. A security certificate, declaring him inadmissible as a threat to security, was issued on April 30, 2003.

On Feb. 24, 2005, Federal Court Justice Pierre Blais found him to be a threat because of his extensive ties to neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups around the world.

"Mr. Zündel's activities are not only a threat to Canada's national security but also a threat to the international community of nations," Judge Blais wrote.

Our dossier on Ernst Zündel
2004 flashback: Ernst Zündel charged with incitement in Germany
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