Spanish minister 'regrets' Holocaust denier interview

7th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos "regrets" that a Spanish newspaper on Saturday published an interview with a British historian who denies the Holocaust, a spokeswoman said.

Stockholm - Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos "regrets" that a Spanish newspaper on Saturday published an interview with a British historian who denies the Holocaust, a spokeswoman said.

"The foreign minister, while maintaining the most absolute respect for freedom of expression, regrets that space was given to a historian who denies one of the biggest tragedies for humanity in modern history," she told reporters in Stockholm where EU foreign ministers were meeting.

"These types of statements deeply hurt the Jewish people," she added.

Centre-right daily newspaper El Mundo published the interview with David Irving, who has denied Nazi Germany killed six million Jews during the Holocaust, as part of a series of six interviews with World War II experts, timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the war's outbreak.

"We don't agree with the majority of what he says, but we defend his right to say it," the newspaper wrote in an editorial on Saturday.

Among the other people it plans to interview as part the series are the director of the Holocaust museum in Israel, Avner Shalev, and a leading biographer of Hitler, Britain's Ian Kershaw.

Israel's ambassador to Spain, Raphael Schutz, condemned the newspaper's decision to plan the interview with Irving, saying it put the arguments of esteemed historians and intellectuals with those of a charlatan, criminal and fraudster who was sentenced to jail in Austria.

"We are not standing before a case where we can evoke freedom of expression," he wrote in a letter to the newspaper published Wednesday.

In 2006 a court in Austria sentenced Irving to three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to denying the Holocaust but he was released and deported to Britain after serving just one-third of his sentence.

He was arrested in late 2005 on charges stemming from two speeches he gave in Austria in 1989 where he said most of those who died at Nazi concentration camps were not executed, but instead succumbed to diseases like typhus.

AFP/Expatica

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