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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Austrian neo-Nazi writer arrested in Spain for denying Holocaust
Mike Rosen-Molina at 5:29 PM ET

[JURIST] An Austrian writer wanted for denying the Holocaust was arrested Thursday by Spanish police in Malaga, Spain. Gerd Honsik [Wikipedia profile] was convicted of neo-Nazi activities in his native Austria in 1992 and sentenced to 1 1/2 years in prison, but fled to Spain to avoid jail time. Honsik has written books denying the Nazi genocide against Jews during World War II and currently publishes an anti-Semitic newspaper in Spain. Denying the Holocaust is a criminal offense in Austria. Austria has not yet launched a formal extradition request for Honsik, and it is not clear if it intends to do so. In another Austrian Holocaust denial case, British historian David Irving [BBC profile] pleaded guilty in February 2006, but was released from prison [JURIST reports] later that year after serving only 13 months of his three-year sentence.

Austria is not the only country to criminalize Holocaust denial. In February, a German court sentenced anti-Semitic writer Ernst Zundel [ADL profile; CBC profile] to five years in prison after finding him guilty on 14 counts of incitement, libel and disparaging the dead [JURIST report]. Holocaust denial constitutes a crime under Section 130 (3) [text] of the German Federal Criminal Code. In April, the European Union approved a framework decision [press release, PDF; JURIST report] aimed at criminalizing denial of the Holocaust [JURIST news archive] and other genocides following six years of intense debate. AP has more.

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