(JTA) — Hungary has returned right-wing extremist Horst Mahler to Germany after he fled to avoid serving out the rest of a sentence for Holocaust denial and incitement to anti-Semitism.
Mahler, 81, was transferred late last week into German custody at Budapest’s Ferenc Liszt Airport, The Associated Press reported Tuesday. He was arrested May 15 in the Hungarian city of Sopron while trying to cross into Austria.
He had asked Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban for political asylum in a letter he published May 12 on the internet. Referring to Orban as the “Fuehrer” of the Hungarian nation, Mahler said he “placed his fate in the hands of his government.” A Budapest court ordered his extradition earlier this month.
In April, Mahler had been ordered to return to the Brandenburg/Havel correctional facility on May 19 to begin serving the final stretch of a 10-year sentence handed down in 2009. He had been released temporarily for health reasons and reportedly had part of a leg amputated due to an infection.
Despite the health problems, he allegedly continued to give talks to neo-Nazi audiences, as recently as April. According to Die Zeit newspaper, Mahler spoke in January to right-wing extremist audiences on such topics as “Jewry is the real enemy” and the so-called plan by Jews to destroy the German people.
The one-time founder of the far-left Red Army Faction terror group famously underwent a transformation in the 1990s to the extreme right. He served as a lawyer for the right-extremist National Democratic Party of Germany until he left the party in 2003.
In November 2007, he was sentenced to six months in jail for raising his arm in the illegal “Hitler salute” to greet his jailers while serving a previous sentence.