Monday, March 08, 2010

Barcelona Bookshop Owner Pedro Varela Europe's Newest Free Speech Martyr, Sentenced To Prison For Spreading "Racist" Propaganda

Pedro Varela arrested in 2006

As one European free speech martyr, Ernst Zundel, is released from prison, another one takes his place in the EU gulag. A Spanish court has sentenced Barcelona bookshop owner Pedro Varela to two years and nine months in prison for spreading racist propaganda. The court ruled that Varela spread ideas favourable to genocide that denigrated Jews, blacks and other groups through the books he sold at his Barcelona bookshop and by organizing lectures. Varela was also ordered to pay a fine of 2,880 euros (3,945 dollars). Prosecutors had asked for a four-year prison sentence.

The court rejected Varela's defence that he belonged to no political party and that there were no banned books in Spain. During the trial, Varela said “I am not saying there was not persecution of the Jews, but so far nobody has found these famous bars of soap into which they were supposedly transformed. And I doubt the numbers of the dead would reach the mythical 6 million.” Brief English summary from EarthTimes; Spanish-language media reports from El Pais and EFE.

This represents Pedro Varela's third time through the Spanish justice system over free speech issues. In 2006, Varela was arrested on Holocaust denial and justification of genocide charges, convicted on the justification charge, and sentenced to seven months in prison after a 2008 trial, but avoided incarceration at the time because he lacked a prior criminal record. Previously, on November 16th, 1998, a Barcelona criminal court found Varela guilty of inciting racial hatred and of denying or justifying genocide, and sentenced him to five years imprisonment and a fine of 720,000 pesetas (about $5,000). The conviction was suspended by the Catalonia Provincial Court on April 30th, 1999 when the three judges of the Audencia court in Barcelona unanimously declared that the law under which he had been convicted may have violated Article 20 of the Spanish Constitution, which guarantees the rights of free speech and free expression of opinion.

Ultimately, a Constitutional Tribunal sided with the provincial court, deciding in 2007 to decriminalise a presumption that was included in the reform of the Penal Code of 1996. Article 607.2 anticipates punishments of up to two years in jail for whoever, “by any means” diffuses “ideas or doctrines that deny or justify” the Holocaust. The Tribunal found that this clause limited a fundamental right, the right to freedom of expression, since it punished the diffusion of ideas “without demanding any other element, such as affronts, or inciting to attack groups.”

In 2007, Pedro Varela was instrumental in assisting Dr. David Duke in launching his Spanish-language translation of his book, "Jewish Supremacism". The two launched a joint book tour for Dr. Duke. The November 2007 Spanish news video embedded below shows one of the joint appearances of Dr. Duke and Pedro Varela -- and also shows Spanish antifa staging a riot in protest:

Wikipedia provides a list of Holocaust denial laws by country HERE.

No comments: