Saturday, October 4, 2008

Irving supports Aussie Holocaust denier

The Sydney Morning Herald

October 4, 2008 - 7:37AM

British Holocaust denier David Irving has joined Australian historian Dr Fredrick Toben's fight against extradition to Germany, where authorities want to try him for his alleged anti-Semitic views.

Toben, who founded the Adelaide Institute, appeared briefly at a London court after being arrested at Heathrow Airport on Wednesday under a European Union warrant issued by a German court.

He has been remanded in custody, with a bail hearing set for October 10 at Westminister Magistrates Court followed by an extradition hearing a week later.

Watching on from the public gallery was a small band of supporters, including Irving, who branded Toben's arrest "a disgrace on the name of Britain", and Lady Michele Renouf, an Australian-born, British-based socialite known for her support of Holocaust denial.

The District Court of Mannheim in Germany wants Britain to extradite Toben for allegedly publishing material which allegedly rejects or plays down whether the Holocaust ever happened.

Unlike in Britain, Holocaust denial is a crime in Germany and offenders can face up to five years in jail.

Speaking to reporters outside the court Irving, who has been banned in the past from entering Australia on "character grounds", condemned Toben's arrest.

"I disapprove of some of his views but he has the right to express them," Irving said.

"What we have seen here is Nazi Germany in pinstriped suits and it's going to get worse.

"Ironically he is finding himself as an Australian in a kangaroo court in Germany."

Irving, an historian who has written several books defending Adolf Hitler and denying the extermination of six million Jews during World War II, was jailed in Austria two years ago for glorifying Nazism.

While Irving says he is unable to afford to offer any money to secure Toben's release on bail, he is willing to have the Australian live with him at his home at Windsor, west of London, while the extradition case continues.

"I wanted him to know all of his friends are here and we won't abandon him," Irving said.
During Friday's hearing, Toben's barrister Ben Watson told the court that the case "strikes at the heart of freedom of expression" and "the interpretation of racism and xenophobia".
"This is an extremely important case," Watson said.

"It strikes at the heart of the controversial European arrest scheme...and that is whether it's possible for a person to be extradited from a country when their conduct wouldn't be an offence in that country."

A warrant for Toben's arrest was issued in 2004, claiming he denied, approved or played down the mass murder of the Jews by the Nazis in material he published on websites in Australia, Germany and other countries.

Toben argues he should not be extradited to Germany because he could never receive a fair trial there.

He was given a 10-month jail sentence in Germany 1999 for publishing a newsletter denying the Holocaust but after being granted bail, fled to Australia.

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