Greece bans Holocaust denial, cracks down on hate speech
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Greece bans Holocaust denial, cracks down on hate speech

ATHENS, Greece (JTA) — Lawmakers in Greece passed a law that bans Holocaust denial and imposes stricter penalties for hate speech.

The government had been trying to enact the bill for more than a year in an effort to confront the rise of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party and a surge in anti-immigrant violence.

Passed late Tuesday with 55 of the 99 lawmakers present in the 300-member Parliament voting in favor, the measure criminalizes the denial or trivialization of the Holocaust or other recognized genocides.

It also increases jail time for instigating racist violence from two years to three years and imposes fines on individuals and groups. Groups found inciting racism can be barred from receiving state funds.

The Greek Jewish community and international Jewish groups have long pressed the Greek government to take a tougher legislative stance on hate speech.

Many of Golden Dawn’s leaders are awaiting trial on charges of running a criminal organization. The party, which has 18 seats in Parliament, frequently uses Nazi imagery. Its leaders have denied the existence of Nazi death camps and gas chambers.