French far-right MP suspended from teaching

4th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

LYON, France, Feb 3 (AFP) - The French education ministry on Thursday suspended far-right lawmaker Bruno Gollnisch from his position as a university professor over controversial comments he made about Nazi gas chambers.

LYON, France, Feb 3 (AFP) - The French education ministry on Thursday suspended far-right lawmaker Bruno Gollnisch from his position as a university professor over controversial comments he made about Nazi gas chambers.

Gollnisch, a professor of Japanese civilisation and international law at the Jean-Moulin university in Lyon, said he would appeal his suspension to the Conseil d'Etat, the country's highest administrative court.

The education ministry said Gollnisch, who is a top deputy to far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen within his National Front (FN) party, had been relieved of his duties "in the interest of the department".

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."

The FN deputy 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."

University administrators suspended Gollnisch's classes in late October, but the Conseil d'Etat last month authorised him to return to the lecture hall.

His classes resumed on Wednesday, but were marred by scuffles pitting FN sympathisers against student groups condemning FN policies.

Le Pen sparked controversy last month when he described the Nazi occupation of France during World War II as "not especially inhumane".

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

© AFP

Subject: French News

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