Irving jailed for three years for Holocaust denial
21 February 2006, VIENNA - British historian David Irving was jailed for three years on Monday on charges of denying the Nazi Holocaust.
21 February 2006
VIENNA - British historian David Irving was jailed for three years on Monday on charges of denying the Nazi Holocaust.
The verdict came at the end of a one-day trial in which he was accused of falsifying history and claiming there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz.
Under Austrian law the charges carry prison sentences of one to ten years.
Irving, aged 67, had pleaded guilty to the charges relating from remarks he made in Austria 17 years ago, but said that in the meantime he had changed his views.
The trial jury reached its verdict unanimously by eight to zero votes, convicting Irving on three counts under Austrian laws banning Nazi revivalism.
There was no immediate word whether Irving's defence planned an appeal.
During his trial, covered by large numbers of international journalists and TV camera crews, Irving said that in recent years he had seen "new research material" proving the existence of Nazi gas chambers.
But according to his defence lawyer Elmar Kresbach, Irving had been obliged to plead guilty to the charges arising from his 1989 statements.
Prosecutor Michael Klackl charged Irving with being anything but a historian. On the contrary, he was a committed falsifier of history.
Irving had "a picture of history" in which "there are no gas chambers," Klackl said. Irving's picture of history had no mass murders organized by the Nazis, and no millions of deaths in the Holocaust.
There had only been individual crimes, and most of the victims in Nazi concentration camps had died "natural deaths", for instance in epidemics, said Klackl in his summary of Irving's writings and lectures.
"Adolf Hitler is a glorified apparition in these statements," said the prosecutor. The Nazi dictator had been portrayed as actually "protecting" the Jews.
Klackl stressed the importance of the present trial, saying there had been attempts in "certain circles" to uplift the defendant into a "martyr of right-wing extremism."
In his final statement, Irving said he was insulted by the prosecutor's remarks, and rejected the charge that he was a falsifier of history.
His defence lawyer, Elmar Kresbach, pointed out that Irving had apologized. He was not in general a denier of the Nazi genocide.
Kresbach pointed out: "What he said, he is allowed to say in most countries."
Irving was arrested by Austrian police while driving on a motorway last November, and jailed in Vienna pending his present trial. He had come to Austria at the invitation of a rightist-nationalist student fraternity.
Subject: German news