Monday, February 20, 2006

Austria to try 'Holocaust denier'

Austria to try 'Holocaust denier'
By Bethany Bell
BBC News, Vienna

British historian David Irving goes on trial in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on Monday, accused of denying the Holocaust occurred.

The charges relate to a speech and an interview he gave in Austria in 1989 in which he denied the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz.

Mr Irving's lawyer told the BBC his client would plead guilty.

Holocaust denial is a criminal offence in Austria which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

David Irving came to Austria last November to give a lecture to a far-right student fraternity. He was stopped by police as he was driving on a motorway in the south of the country.

They arrested him in connection with a lecture and an interview he gave in Austria in 1989.

Mr Irving has been held in custody in Vienna ever since he was arrested in November.

In a letter to the BBC from his prison cell, Mr Irving said some of his views on the gas chambers had changed - but he also expressed opinions which would be challenged by mainstream historians.

Story from BBC NEWS: