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Italy moves towards criminalizing Holocaust denial

[JURIST] Italy is set to become the latest country in Europe to criminalize Holocaust denial [JURIST news archive] after the cabinet of Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi [official website, in Italian] unanimously approved a draft bill [notes, PDF in Italian] Thursday. The draft, written by Justice Minister Clemente Mastella [official website, in Italian], will now be given to parliament for debate. It makes it a crime punishable by up to four years in prison to defend, justify, or otherwise instigate crimes against humanity.

Earlier this month, Germany announced that as part of its 2007 EU presidency [official website], it would propose EU-wide laws criminalizing Holocaust denial [JURIST report]. A prior German attempt at such a law was blocked by Italy, which has since softened its opposition. It is currently illegal to deny the Holocaust in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and Spain. DPA has more. ANSA has additional coverage.

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