Holocaust denier begins jail term in Australia

Fredrick Toben, who published anti-Semitic material on the Internet, will serve 3 months in jail.

Auschwitz 224.88 courtes (photo credit: Courtesy)
Auschwitz 224.88 courtes
(photo credit: Courtesy)
An Australian who was convicted earlier this year of publishing anti-Semitic material on the Internet began serving a three-month jail term Friday after a top court overturned his appeal. Fredrick Toben - who is wanted in Germany on charges of denying the Holocaust - was found guilty in May of 24 counts of contempt of a 2002 court ruling that barred him from publishing such material on the Web site of his organization, the Adelaide Institute. The material found to be in breach of the order included suggestions that the Holocaust did not happen, that questioned whether there were gas chambers at the Auschwitz death camp, and that challenged the intelligence of Jews who questioned Holocaust deniers' beliefs. In their verdict, the judges of the Federal Court said the case was not about the Holocaust but about whether Toben had complied with orders of the court. "Obedience to the court is not optional," they said in their ruling. The judges said Toben, 64, had a disregard for the orders of the court and had acted to undermine the authority of the court. The 2002 case against Toben stemmed from a discrimination case against him by Jeremy Jones, a former president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. Jones welcomed the court's ruling, saying there must be consequences for actions. "I'm glad that it showed that the Australian law does take these matters seriously," Jones told Australian Broadcasting Corp. Toben participated in Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's 2006 conference called to debate whether the Holocaust took place, where he argued that the Auschwitz death camp was too small for the mass murder of Jews to have been carried out there. He suggested only 2,007 people could have been killed at the camp.