Austrian court confirms British historian guilty of Holocaust denial

Original article:

Updated: 05/Sep/2006 17:08

VIENNA (AFP)--- An Austrian court has upheld a guilty verdict imposed on British historian David Irving for denying the existence of the Holocaust, the Austrian Press Agency (APA) reported Monday.

Another court has yet to rule on Irving’s appeal of his three-year prison sentence, which he is now serving in a Vienna jail. This ruling is not expected for at least two months.

Irving, 68, has been in jail since a one-day trial on February 20 at which he pleaded guilty to a charge dating from 1989 of denying the Holocaust of European Jewry.

But Irving insisted at the trial that he no longer questioned the existence of gas chambers at the Nazi’s Auschwitz concentration camp.

Irving was also on trial for saying the November 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom against the Jews was not the work of the Nazis, but of "unknown" people who had dressed up as storm troopers, and that Adolf Hitler had in fact protected the Jews.

He was found guilty on all three counts by an eight-person jury.

The first court confirmed the guilty verdict in a closed-door session August 29, APA said.

Irving was prosecuted under an Austrian law targeting those who "deny the genocide by the National Socialists or other National Socialist crimes against humanity."

Austria is among 11 countries that have laws against denying the Holocaust, in which some six million Jews were slaughtered by Nazi Germany during WWII.

Irving has become notorious worldwide for attempting to establish, against the evidence, that Hitler was not party to the Holocaust, that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz and that the number of Jews slain by the Nazis was greatly exaggerated.

In 2000, Irving lost his fortune when he lost a high-profile libel case against US historian Deborah Lipstadt whom he had sued when she called him a Holocaust denier.