SASKATOON, Canada (JTA) — A judge in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan has acquitted a former aboriginal leader of willfully promoting hatred against Jews.
It was the second trial for David Ahenakew, who was found guilty in 2005 of promoting hatred against Jews and fined $1,000. But the conviction was overturned on appeal and a new trial was ordered.
Ahenakew, the former head of Canada’s Assembly of First Nations, was charged after a controversial speech and subsequent interview with a reporter in 2002. In the interview he called Jews a "disease … that’s going to take over."
He went on to say that "The Jews damn near owned all of Germany prior to the war. That’s how Hitler came in. He was going to make damn sure that the Jews didn’t take over Germany or Europe.
"That’s why he fried six million of those guys, you know. Jews would have owned the God-damned world."
On Monday, Judge Wilfred Tucker of Saskatoon said the comments were "disgusting" but acquitted Ahenakew, saying he didn’t believe the accused intended to promote hatred.
Ahenakew, 75, testified at his second trial that he doesn’t hate Jews, but "I hate what they do to people." He said he still believes Jews caused World War II.