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Tuesday, 20 March 2007
The highly-talented and controversial British historian David Irving has just been released from prison in Austria after serving three years. His crime? A remark he made 17 years earlier.
The Canadian resident Ernst Zundel, whose conviction for ‘hate literature” was overturned by Canada’s highest Court, was kidnapped, held in solitary confinement for two years without charge, and then illegally deported to Germany, where he has just been sentenced to 5 years in prison.Others have suffered similar penalties. Their only crime has been the expression of sincerely-held beliefs about historical events.
Traditionally, the right to express personal views – whether popular or not – has been upheld in Christian countries as “the right of free speech”.As many historical anomalies about the Jewish holocaust in Germany came under scrutiny after World War II, pressure was applied to governments to outlaw any discussion and scrutiny under the accusation that to do so was‘anti-Semitic’. Germany and Austria were the first to succumb to such pressure, followed by France and other western European nations.