Wednesday, December 20, 2006

From the International Herald Tribune: Perspectives on Irving's release

From the International Herald Tribune:

British author who denied Holocaust freed from jail

By Mark Landler
Published: December 20, 2006


In Austria, though, some people argued that, however noxious Irving's views, he should be allowed to express them. Others said the law was necessary, because, as Hans Rauscher, a columnist at the Vienna paper Der Standard, put it, "denial of the Holocaust is not an opinion, it is a political act which tries to bring Nazi thought into the mainstream."

Rauscher said he believed 13 months in jail was sufficient punishment for Irving. But he said he was troubled by the involvement of Maurer, a conservative jurist whom Rauscher said, "is known for very lenient opinions towards right-wing extremism."

In several cases, Maurer ruled in favor of Jörg Haider, founder of the Freedom Party, after he sued journalists and academics that accused him of trying to rationalize Nazism.

In 2000, Maurer was the choice of the Freedom Party to serve on a board that oversees the public broadcasting network ORF. Maurer is not a party member, and he has always told the press that he decides cases based on the legal facts.

Even some of Irving's fiercest foes opposed the decision to jail him. Deborah Lipstadt, a historian at Emory University in Atlanta who won a libel suit filed against her by Irving in 1998, said in an interview, "I don't believe that history should be adjudicated in a courtroom."


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