TORONTO (May. 15)
District court Judge Ronald Thomas sentenced Ernst Zundel on Friday to nine months in jail for publishing a pamphlet denying the Nazi Holocaust ever took place.
The Toronto publisher and West German citizen was found guilty last week, after a four month trial, of publishing a pamphlet by a British fascist titled “Did Six Million Really Die?”
Zundel could have received a maximum jail sentence of two years for violating Canada’s statutes against spreading “false news.” Prosecutor John Pearson had asked for a sentence close to the maximum and a period of probation in which Zundel would be prevented from repeating his claims.
But in denying the probationary period, Thomas declared that “the likelihood of rehabilitation is nil.” He stated that Zundel believes in the dogma of Adolf Hitler, is still a follower of National Socialism and will continue to hold his beliefs.
He added: “There was no sign that the community had been tainted by his venom. It is Mr. Zundel who is to be pitied. He has been rejected twice by jurors.”
Zundel was previously convicted of the same charges in 1985, receiving a 15-month sentence and a $5,000 fine. But the conviction was overturned on a technicality and a new trial was ordered.
Addressing Zundel, Thomas said, “Maybe you want to be a martyr and I was tempted to frustrate you.” However, the judge said he felt that a message had to be sent out to the public that people “who spread hate in order to foster rightwing beliefs must be punished.”
Zundel’s lawyer, Douglas Christie, has announced that he will appeal the conviction, based on 31 objections, the major one being Thomas’ decision early in the trial to take judicial notice that the Holocaust was a matter of historical fact and could not be disputed in the courtroom.