Court reduces Holocaust denier’s sentence

Holocaust denier Gerd Honsik has had his prison sentence reduced from five to four years by the Appeals Senate of Vienna’s Higher Regional Court (OLG) yesterday (Mon).Judge Christian Dostal said that the original sentence was “too long.” He added that making an example of Honsik in an attempt to deter others from engaging in the same behaviour would have had the effect of “making us live in constant anxiety and fear in Vienna.”The judge told Honsik: “You have occupied yourself with this activity your entire life. I do not know if that has improved the quality of your life, but it would please me not to see you here again. Keep a diary that you do not show to anyone else.”The public prosecutor had wanted the original sentence lengthened to 10 years.But Honsik’s attorney Georg Karesch said it had been impossible to prove that Honsik’s activity had harmed anyone else. “Honsik has not done anything that appears to me to be criminal. The Pope cannot be blamed if an Irish Catholic blows up a police station.”It was announced last month that the Austrian High Court (OGH) had confirmed Honsik’s conviction last year for spreading Nazi ideology.Honsik, then 68, was found guilty on 28 counts of breaking laws prohibiting activities supporting the Nazi regime by the Vienna Criminal Court last April.In 1992, Honsik was convicted of breaking laws against spreading Nazi ideology in his book “Freispruch für Hitler?” (Acquittal for Hitler?) and sentenced to a year and a half in prison.But he fled to Spain, where he gained a reputation as a leading extreme right-wing publicist.Austrian public prosecutors claimed Honsik had used his journal “Halt” (Stop), books and the internet in Spain to promote and publicise Nazi ideology.Honsik was arrested in 2007 near Malaga, Spain, on an international warrant and extradited to Austria.