Leftist-turned-neo-Nazi jailed for denying Holocaust

26th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

The now 73-year-old on several occasions vehemently disputed that the Nazis had systematically slaughtered six million European Jews during World War II.

Munich -- A former left-wing guerrilla turned neo-Nazi was sentenced to six years in prison Wednesday for calling the Holocaust "the biggest lie in history," a court said.

Horst Mahler, who in the 1970s co-founded the militant far-left Red Army Faction (RAF) and later swung violently far-right, was convicted of inciting racial hatred by the higher regional court in the southern city of Munich.

The now 73-year-old had, on several occasions, vehemently disputed the Nazis had systematically slaughtered six million European Jews during World War II.

Denying the Holocaust is a crime in Germany.

Mahler was also found to have sent offensive CD-ROMs and a book by convicted Holocaust denier Germar Rudolf through the mail.

"I expect to be and am counting on being brought before a court for my efforts and that I will be sentenced," Mahler wrote in a note sent with the packages, adding that the recipients would likely be called to testify.

The court said the only mitigating factor in Mahler's case was his advanced age.

"Adding to the severity of his sentence were the defendant's unreasonable and intransigent stance as well as the public attention he intentionally drew to his behaviour," the court said in a statement.

Mahler, who was immediately taken into custody, has a string of convictions for similar offences as well as for crimes dating back to his time with the RAF, which carried out a bloody campaign against the West German government.

Last April, he was convicted for giving a Hitler salute to a Jewish journalist in an interview and denying the Holocaust.

He has also praised the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and has accused Jews of seeking "world domination."

In highly unusual move, German Chancellor Angela Merkel this month sharply attacked her compatriot Pope Benedict XVI for welcoming back into the Catholic Church a British-born bishop who has repeatedly denied the Holocaust.

Despite subsequent Vatican demands, the bishop, Richard Williamson, has refused to retract his claims.


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