[JURIST] A court in Mannheim has begun trial proceedings against neo-Nazi Ernst Zundel [ADL profile; CBC backgrounder], a German citizen charged in connection with denying the Holocaust in publications and a website [official website]. Holocaust denial constitutes a crime under Section 130 (3) of the German Federal Criminal Code, which provides:
Whoever publicly or in a meeting approves of, denies or renders harmless an act committed under the rule of National Socialism of the type indicated in Section 220a subsection (1) [genocide], in a manner capable of disturbing the public piece shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than five years or a fine.Charges against Zundel include incitement, ethnic hatred, and disparaging the dead. Zundel denies the charges of fostering racial hatred and spreading Nazi propaganda based on his right to free speech. Zundel, now 66, left Germany for Canada in 1958, but after a unsuccessful bid to gain Canadian citizenship and a short stay in the United States he was deported from there earlier this year after being judged a national security threat. A Canadian court convicted him in 1988 of "spreading false news" in an anti-Holocaust tract, but the "false news" law was later overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada [judgment], which held it contrary to freedom of expression. Germany issued an international warrant for Zundel's arrest in 2003, and took him into custody immediately after he was returned by Canadian authorities in March 2005. The trial stalled shortly after it commenced Tuesday when the presiding judge threw one of Zundel's lawyers, Horst Mahlerout, out of court on grounds that he had been disbarred for racist sentiments; a verdict is nonetheless expected by November 24. BBC News has more.