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Holocaust denier jailed in Australia

AFP · 13 May 2009, 09:03

Published: 13 May 2009 09:03 GMT+02:00

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Gerald Frederick Toben, 65, who is wanted in Germany on charges of Holocaust denial, was jailed on 24 counts of criminal contempt of court, but the sentence was delayed for 14 days pending an appeal.

"Evidence showed a continuing public defiance of the authority of the court," Federal Court judge Bruce Lander told the national AAP news agency.

The court had ordered Toben to stop publishing offensive material on his Adelaide Institute website in 2002 after complaints by a former president of the executive council of Australian Jewry.

"I am quite prepared to sacrifice my physical comforts for the sake of free expression," Toben told reporters outside the court in the southern city of Adelaide. "The world is my prison, where can I run to?"

Toben was arrested in Britain in October last year under a European Union arrest warrant issued by Germany, but a bid to extradite him to answer charges of Holocaust denial failed.

He faces charges in Germany of publishing material on the Internet "of an anti-Semitic and/or revisionist nature" which denies, approves of, or plays down the Holocaust.

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

The acting director of Toben's Adelaide Institute, Peter Hartung, said in a statement the website would continue to operate as normal if Toben was absent.

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"Dr Toben has shown himself to be a man of great integrity who will not bend - even prison will not make him recant his views," he said.

Toben is due back in court later this month.

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