Ernst Zuendel, 66, a leading Holocaust denier who wrote a book entitled The Hitler We Loved and Why, went on trial in Germany yesterday. He was deported from Canada eight months ago after being pursued by German authorities for several years. He is charged with inciting racial hatred, libel and disparaging the dead.
Herr Zuendel, who runs the biggest neo-Nazi mail-order company in Europe and publishes pamphlets denying that the Holocaust happened, sat between his lawyers at the court in Mannheim while supporters packed the viewing gallery. The trial will be a test of the limits of state action against anti-Semitic internet sites. If found guilty Herr Zuendel faces up to five years in jail and the authorities would be able to shut down his publishing empire.
The German authorities have been seeking his extradition since 2003, and police believe that he is part of an international network that includes Russian ultra-nationalists and Dutch and French neo-Nazis. The trial is expected to continue until the end of this month.
Note that I have myself recently had harsh words to say about holocaust deniers but that does not mean that I think that discusiion of ANYTHING should be forbidden
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