Expatica news

Trial of former senator begins

16 March 2007

BRUSSELS – The trial of Roeland Raes started in court in Brussels today. The former senator and deputy chairman of the Vlaams Blok at the time is being prosecuted for denying the holocaust because he expressed doubts on Dutch television about the magnitude and systematic nature of the persecution of Jews during World War II.

Today in court the footage from the broadcast was shown. The trial will not resume however until 15 June.

In the NCRV broadcast of Netwerk on 26 February 2001 Roeland Raes was interviewed because of his ties with an extreme right Dutch party. During the interview Raes said he had doubts about the persecution of Jews.

The footage shows Raes telling the journalist how he doubted the authenticity of Anne Frank’s famous diary, among other things. He also doubted the size and systematic nature of the persecution of the Jews, he said. He claims the official numbers of victims have been inflated and that the death camps were actually work camps, where the living conditions were indeed extremely bad.

Raes said that the victors of the war tried to put all the blame for the war on the Germans. The stories about death camps fit in well with these efforts, Raes said on Dutch television.

The Forum of Jewish Organisations in Flanders filed a complaint against Raes after the broadcast, since denying, trivialising or justifying the holocaust is illegal in Belgium.

The man was forced to resign from the senate, his position within his party and as director at the University of Ghent.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news