French extremist banned from university teaching

7th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

LYON, France, March 4 (AFP) - The second in command of France's extreme right-wing National Front party has been banned for five years from teaching at Lyon University over controversial comments he made about Nazi gas chambers, the college announced Friday.

LYON, France, March 4 (AFP) - The second in command of France's extreme right-wing National Front party has been banned for five years from teaching at Lyon University over controversial comments he made about Nazi gas chambers, the college announced Friday.

Guy Lavorel said the disciplinary committee had ejected Professor Bruno Gollnisch, a teacher of international law and Japanese civilisation at Lyon, because of public remarks he made last October.

Gollnisch told a press conference in October: "I do not deny the existence of deadly gas chambers. But I'm not a specialist on this issue, and I think we have to let the historians debate it. And this debate should be free and open."

He said he did not contest the "hundreds of thousands, the millions of deaths" during the Holocaust, but added: "As to the way those people died, a debate should take place."

Gollnisch is deputy leader of the National Front, an extremist party with an anti-immigrant agenda whose most high-profile figure, Jean-Marie Le Pen, has most recently sparked controversy by describing the Nazi occupation of France during World War II as "not especially inhumane".

Paris prosecutors have launched an inquiry to determine whether Le Pen's remarks constituted "denial of crimes against humanity" or "apology for war crimes" - both of which are criminal offences.

Gollnisch described the ruling by the university disciplinary court as an illegal and unjust "witch-hunt."

The Union of French Jewish Students welcomed the ruling, saying it was a reasonable decision.

The French justice ministry has ordered court proceedings against Gollnisch for allegedly "challenging crimes against humanity."

The French education ministry last month suspended Gollnisch from his position as a university professor over his controversial comments.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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