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December 20, 1991 - Image 102

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-12-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

N EWS I

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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 20, 1991

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Lawyer Ties
Holocaust To Santa

Toronta (JTA) — In the
latest appeal against the
conviction of Holocaust revi-
sionist Ernst Zundel for
"publishing false news,"
defense attorney Douglas
Christie claimed that a law
to prosecute people for deny-
ing the Holocaust could be
extended to those who
believe in Santa Claus.
In the Dec. 10 opening of
the appeals case before the
Supreme Court of Canada,
in Ottawa, Mr. Christie said
that if the constitutionality
of Section 181 of Canada's
Criminal Code is upheld, "It
wouldn't be impossible to
prosecute someone for hav-
ing a belief in Santa Claus."
All opponents would have
to do is successfully demon-
strate that belief in Santa
Claus is detrimental to the
public interest, he said.
In this latest of Mr.
Zundel's bouts with the
Canadian court system, he is
appealing his 1988 convic-
tion for knowingly
publishing false news, after
the Supreme Court in May
agreed to let him broaden
his constitutional challenge
of that law.
Mr. Christie maintained
that the law infringed on his
client's constitutionally
guaranteed freedom of ex-
pression and should be
stricken from the books.
"These laws are really in-
struments of thought con-
trol, which should be avoid-
ed in a free and democratic
society," said Mr. Christie, a
Vancouver, British Colum-
bia, lawyer who has defend-
ed virtually every accused
neo-Nazi or Nazi col-
laborator before Canadian
courts.
Mr. Christie argued the
false-news law could have a
chilling effect on publishers,
who might fear prosecution
for promoting ideas that
challenge accepted norms.
He said Galileo, the 16th-
century Italian astronomer,
might have been convicted for
spreading news that the
Earth revolves around the
sun.
A lawyer for the Ontario
Attorney-General challeng-
ed this assertion, saying the
law could be used only
against people who
deliberately spread lies that
harm the public.
"In my opinion, Mr.
Zundel is hardly in the posi-
tion of Galileo," said W. J.
Blacklock.
The Ontario and federal
governments, as well as
B'nai B'rith Canada and the

Canadian Jewish Congress
— both intervenors in the
case — maintain that the
law is needed to "preserve
social and racial harmony."
Mr. Zundel, 52, was
originally convicted in
February 1985 of spreading
false news with his publica-
tion of Did Six Million Real-
ly Die? a 32-page pamphlet
claiming the Holocaust is a
hoax designed to enrich
Israel through reparations
payments from Germany.
A 12-person jury found Mr.
Zundel guilty and he was
given a 15- month sentence.
He appealed.
In 1987, the Ontario Court
of Appeal upheld the legality
of the false news provision.
But the court ordered a new
trial because of several
errors made by the judge.
In 1988, following a three-
and-a-half month jury
retrial, Mr. Zundel was
again convicted and given a
nine-month sentence.
A German national who
never acquired Canadian
citizenship, Mr. Zundel was
convicted in early November
by a Munich court of
distributing hate material
and fined $20,000.
He was also stopped from
entering Spain to take part
in a fascist demonstration
that was held Nov. 19 in
honor of the late Spanish
fascist dictator, Gen. Fran-
cisco Franco.
Should Mr. Zundel lose his
latest challenge to Canadian
law, he faces deportation
proceedings as a landed im-
migrant given a jail
sentence exceeding six mon-
ths for a criminal or civil of-
fence.

Workers End
Airport Strike

Tel Aviv (JTA) — A strike
by baggage-handlers at Ben-
Gurion Airport ended last
week but the chaos it caused
was expected to linger on for
at least another day.
Departing flights were
delayed for up to six hours
the beginning of the week
until Transport Minister
Moshe Katsav personally
intervened.
Luggage normally loaded
on planes was allowed to pile
up on conveyor belts and in
front of check-in counters,
blocking access by passen-
gers.
Arriving travelers were
advised to leave the airport
and retrieve their baggage
at a later date.

7, /

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