SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — A German-born Holocaust denier living in Australia was jailed for three months, drawing a 13-year legal battle to a close.
Dr. Fredrick Toben, director of the Adelaide Institute in South Australia, an allegedly anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying organization, lost his appeal Thursday in Federal Court to overturn his conviction for contempt of court.
Toben, 64, was found guilty earlier this year on 24 counts of contempt of a 2002 court order to remove anti-Semitic material on his Web site that included claims that gas chambers did not exist at Auschwitz and that the Holocaust was “a lie.”
In their verdict, the three judges said the issue was not the Holocaust but whether Toben had complied with court orders.
“Obedience to the court is not optional,” the judges wrote. “In our opinion, the sentence of three months cannot, on any stretch of the imagination, be considered excessive or unwarranted.”
The long-running case began in 1996 when Jeremy Jones, a former president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, accused Toben of breaching the Racial Vilification Act.
“Fredrick Toben has, for many years, showed contempt for basic decency and contempt for history," Jones said. "He is now in jail for his contempt of Australian law.”
On Thursday, Toben’s Web site included a notice that read, “It is the contention of this site that the Holocaust does not exist in reality … We have no malice towards Jews, and we wish them well in their struggle to escape their own enslavement.”
Robert Goot, the current Executive Council president, said in a statement that he would “not hesitate” to return the matter to the court if Toben breached the law again.
Toben spent two months in jail last year in London as German authorities tried unsuccessfully to extradite him for publishing his revisionist material. He had spent several months in a German jail in 1999 for inciting racism.