First day of Nazi trial ends in scandal

Nov. 9, 2005 at 8:51 AM   |   Comments

MANNHEIM, Germany, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- The first trial day against German Holocaust denier Ernst Zuendel ended in a scandal when his lawyer was exposed as a neo-Nazi.

The case against Zuendel, 66, opened Tuesday at a regional court in Mannheim. He is charged with 14 counts of inciting racial hatred and publishing neo-Nazi material.

After only a few hours, the case was postponed when the judge dismissed Zuendel's public defender, Sylvia Stolz, for including right-wing ideology and terminology in her written submissions to the court.

The judge also refused to allow Horst Mahler, a former far-left activist of the Red Army Faction in the 1970s who has since switched camps to the far-right, to be on staff of Zuendel's defense team. Mahler, a former lawyer, has been barred from practicing his job because of his neo-Nazi agenda.

The courtroom in the western German city was filled with right-wingers applauding statements made by the defense and booing the prosecution for its position. According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the judge on several occasions warned that the public will be dismissed if it didn't quieten down.

After six hours, the session was adjourned. The case will not reopen until next week, the newspaper said.

At age 19, Zuendel moved to Canada to circumvent the German draft. He lived most of his life in North America and is one of the world's most active Holocaust deniers. He has published anti-Semitic thoughts on a Web site managed by his wife in the United States and has published books such as "The Hitler We Loved and Why."

Zuendel was extradited from his home in Canada earlier this year at Germany's request. There, denying the Holocaust is a criminal offence that carries a prison sentence of up to five years.

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