Zundel gets five years for Holocaust denial
We've noted before that the laws against Holocaust denial are counter-productive, as they muddy the moral waters, showing "democracy" as the "real" totalitarianism. They serve as effective propaganda precisely for those they seek to silence. Unfortunately, here we go again. From AP, Feb. 15:
MANNHEIM, Germany - A German court on Thursday convicted far-right activist Ernst Zundel and sentenced him to five years in prison for Holocaust denial in a case that underlined Germany's determination to prosecute people who claim the Nazis didn't murder 6 million Jews.
The 67-year-old Zundel, who was deported from Canada in 2005, was convicted on 14 counts of inciting hatred for years of anti-Semitic activities, including contributing to a Web site devoted to denying the Holocaust — a crime in Germany.
Zundel showed no emotion when Judge Ulrich Meinerzhagen read the verdict, only nodding occasionally.
Zundel, who has also lived in Tennessee, and his supporters argued that he was a peaceful campaigner being denied his right to free speech.
His attorney, Ludwig Bock, said he would appeal.
"What is notable is the iron-hard refusal of the court to allow consideration of new scientific findings or expert opinions," Bock said.
Prosecutors in Germany were able to bring charges because the Web site is accessible there.
The German prosecution won praise from Bnai Brith Canada, a Jewish human rights group.
"The case of Ernst Zundel demonstrates clearly the strength, determination and resolve of Germany's hate crimes legislation, in stark contrast to our own," Executive Vice President Frank Dimant said in a statement. Dimant said Canadian hate crimes laws did not specifically recognize Holocaust denial as a crime.
Zundel faced 14 counts of incitement for disseminating anti-Semitic propaganda through a series of pamphlets and the Web site. Denying the Holocaust can bring three months to five years in prison.
His trial began in November in this southwestern city after an initial attempt to try him collapsed in March 2006 over a dispute with one of his attorneys, Sylvia Stolz.
At one stage, she was carried from the courtroom, screaming, "Resistance! The German people are rising up," after she defied 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."
'Mein Kampf' quoted in court
During the current trial, Bock quoted from Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and from Nazi race laws in his closing statements last week as he argued for Zundel'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 Zundel a "rat catcher" — had defamed his client.
Another of Zundel's five attorneys, Herbert Schaller, told the court that all of its evidence that the Holocaust took place was based only on witness reports, instead of hard facts.
In his own closing arguments, prosecutor Andreas Grossmann called Zundel 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.