Monday, March 01, 2010

Germans Release Holocaust Revisionist Ernst Zündel, Prisoner Of Conscience For Five Years, But May Be Prevented From Seeing His Wife Ingrid

Holocaust revisionist and prisoner of conscience Ernst Zündel was finally released on March 1st, 2010 after serving five years in a German prison for "denying the Holocaust". Media stories from the Associated Press, the Toronto Sun, and Additional commentary from the Zundelsite and by Michael Hoffman and on Stormfront and the Vanguard News Network Forum.

"I'm back out after seven years, three weeks, three prisons and three countries," said the 70-year-old Zündel after he emerged from the prison in Mannheim shortly after 8 A.M. Central European Time. A crowd of some 20 supporters clapped and shouted "bravo", some handing him flowers as he passed through the prison's steel gates.

Zündel provided no details about his future plans, saying only that he wanted to improve his health and would return to his home region in the Black Forest. “Having spent the last seven years in a ‘chicken coop,’ I’ve gained a lot of weight. I have to lose that. I have to get checked out in a hospital,” Zündel said, though did not indicate that he was ill. Of course, reporters were quick to ask him about his views concerning the Holocaust; avoiding a possible trap, Zündel merely said, “It’s kind of a sad situation; there’s a lot to say. I’ll certainly be careful not to offend anyone and their draconian laws.” Had he spoken out frankly regarding the Holocaust, the German government would have undoubtedly arrested and prosecuted him again. Michael Hoffman notes that Zündel should not be considered completely free, since he is under a gag order and his freedom of speech severely curtailed.

One other possible dilemma; it may be difficult for Ernst Zündel and his wife Ingrid Rimland to see each other. The U.S. government may forbid Ernst Zündel from visiting the United States to see Ingrid because of his conviction on Holocaust denial charges. At the same time, if Ingrid attempts to visit Ernst in Germany, she may risk being arrested for "Holocaust denial" because she runs the Zundelsite, considered a "Holocaust denial" website by the German government. Don't forget, the German government had Fredrick Töben detained in the United Kingdom and unsuccessfully attempted to extradite him to Germany because they considered Toben a "Holocaust denier".

Background: Born in the Black Forest area of Germany in 1939, Zündel emigrated to Canada in 1958 and lived in Toronto and Montreal until 2001. He was tried twice for Holocaust denial in Canada, in 1985 and again in 1988. Found guilty in 1985, the verdict was set aside by a Canadian provincial appeals court. In 1988, he was found guilty again and sentenced to nine months imprisonment, but in 1992, Canada's Supreme Court threw out that conviction, ruling that the archaic "false news" law under which he had been convicted was a violation of the country's Charter of Rights. Zundel was next hauled before a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in Toronto because of the Zundelsite; although the Tribunal ruled that the website was unlawful because truth or validity of the supposedly hateful items was not a consideration, the ruling was deemed unenforceable because the website is based in the United States.

Nevertheless, Canadian officials twice rejected Zündel's attempts to obtain Canadian citizenship, and he moved to Pigeon Forge, TN, in 2000, where he met and married Ingrid. He lived in Tennessee until 2003, when he was arrested on the pretext that he had violated immigration regulations, or had missed an interview date with US immigration authorities, even though he had entered the US legally, was married to an American citizen, had no criminal record, and was acting diligently, and in full accord with the law, to secure status as a permanent legal resident. After being held for two weeks, he was deported to Canada, where he was held in solitary confinement in the Toronto West Detention Centre until March 2005 on the pretext that he was a threat to national security. Zündel was then extradited from Canada to Germany to face German charges of inciting hatred for years of anti-Semitic activities, including contributing to the Zundelsite, considered a website devoted to denying the Holocaust — a crime in Germany. The Zundelsite's accessibility in Germany made it possible for German prosecutors to charge him with 14 counts. He was ultimately convicted.

There was also another victim in this case. Zündel's attorney Sylvia Stolz mounted such a vigorous defense in his trial that she, in turn, was tried and convicted of Holocaust denial.

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