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Toronto, Canada, Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Ernst Zündel sues Ottawa over imprisonment

Canadian Press

TORONTO -- Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel filed a lawsuit against the federal government Wednesday alleging that the nearly two years he's spent behind bars were a violation of his constitutional rights.

Word of the suit came after Zündel's most recent bid to forestall his deportation to Germany -- a motion seeking the removal of the Federal Court judge hearing his case -- was formally denied by the Federal Court of Appeal.

The lawsuit seeks only costs and a declaration that Zündel, 65, be freed and that keeping him in solitary confinement without charges for more than 20 months violated his Charter rights, said lawyer Peter Lindsay.

''There's no monetary compensation sought apart from the costs of the action,'' Lindsay said in an interview.

"This is not a lawsuit about money. This is a lawsuit about principle and about procedural fairness or unfairness. Not a dime is being sought.''

On Tuesday, the Federal Court of Appeal quashed Lindsay's motion to have Justice Pierre Blais, whom Lindsay accused of being biased against his client, removed from the case.

Zündel is being held under a rarely-used security certificate, which classifies him as a risk to Canadian security based on secret evidence which Blais will use to decide whether the certificate is reasonable.

''If he decides it is reasonable, then it becomes a removal order and there's no appeal and there's no right of judicial review,'' Lindsay said.

"If he decides it's unreasonable, then it would be quashed and that would be the end of it . . . (but) we're concerned the result will be a negative result.''

Like the many lawyers in Canada who have found themselves before Federal Court judges in recent years, trying to defend against evidence they're not even allowed to see, Lindsay said defending his client has been a frustrating task.

''How can I answer a case that I don't know what the case is?'' he asked.

"How is it fair that one side gets to present evidence, the judge gets to consider that evidence, the other side doesn't even know what the evidence is and is somehow supposed to challenge it?''

Zündel was in and out of courtrooms in Canada in the early 1980s over his persistent publication of material depicting the Holocaust as a myth propagated to vilify Germans and justify massive war reparations.

A resident of Canada for 42 years, Zündel was jailed last year upon his return to Canada after overstaying his visa in the U.S. In Germany, he faces charges of suspicion of incitement to hatred.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service alleges Zündel has advised and encouraged some 25 people who advocate violence, including an American writer whose book was found among the possessions of convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear his challenge of the constitutional validity of the security certificate review process under which he was declared inadmissible to Canada.

Meanwhile, there's no indication when Blais might deliver the ruling that would determine Zündel's fate, Lindsay said.

Zündel's address:

Ernst Zündel, Toronto West Detention Centre, 111 Disco Road, Box 4950, Rexdale, Ontario, M9W 1M3 (Canada)



Our dossier on the Ernst Zündel case
CSIS intercepted Zündel's mail, ex-agent says | Closing arguments begin in Zündel deportation case: Zündel defence based on age draws scorn | Defence closing: Zündel's followers bookish seniors, not violent skinheads, lawyer says | Closing arguments begin in Zündel deportation case: Judge accused of 'misguided approach' in Zündel case
Ernst Zündel is entitled to a hearing to challenge his deportation to Canada, a federal appeals court says
Who is Ernst Zündel and Why Is He in Jail?
Some Good News in the Zündel Case

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