British “historian” David Irving has been jailed for 3 years in Austria, for denying the Jewish holocaust happened.
How does this sit with the West’s regard for Free Speech?
If we want free speech, should that not include saying what we think, even if it is bullshit? Or does free speech mean only if we agree with what is said?
That is because in Germany there is a law against that one particular form of speech and is a jailable offense as you will see by this little snippet of news.
The defendant in the case, Frederick T�ben, was found guilty of spreading "Auschwitz lies," denying the historical reality of the Holocaust. T�ben, who was born in Germany, operates the Holocaust-denying Adelaide Institute in Australia. In publications and on the Web site of the institute, he has claimed the Holocaust is an invention of Jewish propagandists.
T�ben was arrested while visiting Germany in 1999, and sentenced to 10 months in prison on the lesser charge of offending the memory of the dead, because of his printed pamphlets. The lower court found, however, that Germany's laws against incitement to racial hatred could not be enforced against foreign Web sites. He returned to Australia after serving part of his sentence.
If T�ben or other similar perpetrators set foot on German soil, they can be arrested, said Hans-Gertz Lange, a spokesman for the Verfassungsschutz, the Federal criminal investigative agency that prosecutes such cases. As long as they remain abroad, however, there's not much German authorities can do.
"When they put something on the Internet that's illegal in Germany but legal by U.S. or Australian law, there's relatively little we can do about it, at least in terms of criminal law," Lange said. He added, however, that Tuesday's ruling strengthens authorities' hand in cases where extremists in Germany use servers abroad to post material that can be accessed in Germany.
"The best chance to fight against right-wing material on the Internet is on an international level. But when I think of the U.S. or Canada, it's extremely unlikely that they'll change their laws in accordance with ours. Their concept of freedom of speech is tied up with their history; our laws against incitement to racial hatred are tied up with ours," Lange said.
The German Government is quite sensitive about the Holocaust and there are laws enacted, it would be akin to the fact that it is against the law in the US to yell fire in a theater when there is not one due to the panic and possible loss of life when a stampede for the exit ensues in a dark theater, sure you can say it but you will go to jail if caught because it is a law.