Germany court rejects Zundel appeal of Holocaust denial sentence

[JURIST] The German Federal Court of Justice [official website, in German] said Monday it has dismissed [press release] an appeal made by writer Ernst Zundel [ADL profile; CBC profile] to overturn his February conviction for denying the Holocaust. Earlier this year, Zundel was sentenced to five years in prison after the court found him guilty on 14 counts of incitement, libel and disparaging the dead [JURIST reports]. Holocaust denial constitutes a crime under Section 130 (3) [text] of the German Federal Criminal Code, which provides:

Whoever publicly or in a meeting approves of, denies or renders harmless an act committed under the rule of National Socialism of the type indicated in Section 220a subsection (1) [genocide], in a manner capable of disturbing the public piece shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than five years or a fine.
In his closing argument, Zundel maintained that the Holocaust never happened.

Zundel left Germany for Canada in 1958, but after a unsuccessful bid to gain Canadian citizenship and a short stay in the United States he was deported to Germany in 2005 after being judged a national security threat. A Canadian court convicted him in 1988 of "spreading false news" in an anti-Holocaust tract, but the "false news" law was later overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada [judgment], which held it contrary to freedom of expression. Germany issued an international warrant for Zundel's arrest in 2003, and took him in to custody immediately after he was returned by Canadian authorities in March 2005. In its rejection of his appeal, the federal court also affirmed a lower court's ruling that Zundel's sentence should not be reduced because he had been detained by Canadian authorities before being deported to Germany. AP has more.

 

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