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Police have charged a man who allegedly posted a video on YouTube with inciting racism under a so-far untested Australian state law, officials said Thursday. A newspaper report said the video targeted Jews.
The 38-year-old man from the west coast city of Perth could become the first person convicted under Western Australia state's racial vilification laws enacted four years ago.
The laws were introduced in response to a series of violent attacks by white supremacists around Perth. The only person previously charged under the law was a 16-year-old Aboriginal girl, but a magistrate said the case involved petty name-calling and dismissed it.
State police spokeswoman Susan Usher said the suspect would appear in court next Tuesday charged with "conduct likely to incite animosity or racist harassment." He cannot be identified under Australian law until his first court appearance.
If convicted, he faces a possible maximum penalty of 14 years in prison plus a fine of 24,000 Australian dollars ($18,000).
Detectives acting on a tip arrested the man at his home Wednesday. He was released on bail, Usher said.
The video shot at locations around Perth "contained content that was targeting a specific religion including threats to harm specific persons," Usher said.
Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan said police had contacted YouTube about having the video removed.
"We have been working with them to pull the video down and they have been fairly cooperative in the past," O'Callaghan told reporters.
Police have not specified the religion. But the Perth-based newspaper The West Australian said Jews were targeted.
The newspaper said the 10-minute video showed the man saying to the camera "your days are numbered" and "I will put you in the camps with the rest of them."
He is also shown taunting a Jewish man outside a shopping center and calling him a "racist, homicidal maniac," the newspaper said.
Also Wednesday, an Australian who has denied the Holocaust occurred was sentenced to three months in prison in a different state for defying an order to stop publishing anti-Semitic material on his Web site.
The man, Fredrick Toben, remains free pending an appeal in the Federal Court in South Australia.
Toben last year avoided prosecution in Germany on a Holocaust denying charge when a British court ruled against extraditing him. In 1999, Toben was convicted in Germany on a similar charge and served seven months in prison.