Supporters applaud neo-Nazi as trial begins
9 February 2006, MANNHEIM, GERMANY - The German-born author of the book "The Hitler We Loved and Why" went on trial in Germany Thursday for denying the Holocaust and was applauded by fellow neo-Nazis in court.
9 February 2006
MANNHEIM, GERMANY - The German-born author of the book "The Hitler We Loved and Why" went on trial in Germany Thursday for denying the Holocaust and was applauded by fellow neo-Nazis in court.
Lawyers supporting Ernst Zuendel, 66, attacked the judge as biased and poured scorn on the government-funded legal team appointed to present a defence case. The court had earlier ruled that Zuendel's far-right lawyer friends were unfit to receive state fees.
Zuendel, who has spent most of his life in the United States and Canada, ran a neo-Nazi website and sold neo-Nazi books by mail.
He is charged with incitement to ethnic hatred, criminal insult and disparaging the dead, and could face up to five years in jail.
A first trial of Zuendel last November had to be abandoned after the court in the southwestern town of Mannheim ruled that a far-right lawyer was herself breaching the law by denying the Holocaust.
Judges say Zuendel is not allowed to base a defence on his claim that the Holocaust never happened. As a result, there are three legal teams in court: The prosecution, the state sanctioned defence and Zuendel's associates.
Police kept the courthouse under tight guard. When Zuendel, who has been in German custody since being expelled from Canada in March 2005, was led in, many persons in the public gallery applauded him.
The court ruled that an objection against the judge for alleged bias would be dealt with later. Other applications by Zuendel delayed the arraignment for several hours. The court rejected a demand by Zuendel's friends that his state defence team sit elsewhere in court.
Zuendel's book in praise of Hitler is popular among neo-Nazis, but has outraged most Germans. The German government has been trying for years to stop his activities and his attacks on Jews.
He emigrated from Germany to Canada in 1958 and later moved to the United States. He was deported back to Canada in 2003 for alleged immigration violations.
Because of U.S. constitutional free-speech rules, he was not charged in the United States. But as a German national, he can be prosecuted in his homeland for crimes committed on foreign soil.
Subject: German news