Dedicated to Ernst Zündel - Prisoner of Conscience
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|News Archive||Printer Version||January 14, 2007|
Press Release: THREE-JUDGE PANEL IN OHIO TO WEIGH ARGUMENTS FOR "GERMAN HERETIC"
Cincinnati, Ohio (1/13/2007) -- The civil liberties claims of Ernst and Ingrid Rimland Zundel will be heard January 24, 2007 by a three-judge panel in Cincinnati, it was announced today by Zundels' lawyer, Bruce Leichty.
Ernst Zundel is the controversial German-born publisher whose views on the "Holocaust" have put him at odds with mainstream historians and prompted his detention and prosecution in Germany, where he faces a prison term of up to five years for his speech.
The appeal to be heard in Cincinnati is not legally related to the German trial but may still send an important signal about whether Zundel should have ever been exposed to prosecution in Germany in the first place, says Leichty.
The Zundels and Leichty contend that Zundel was effectively kidnapped by U.S. federal agents in February 2003 and that his deportation to Canada without a court hearing was illegal under U.S. law, especially since he was awaiting processing for U.S. permanent residence as the husband of a U.S. citizen, Ingrid Rimland.
Ingrid Rimland has compared the seizure of her husband to the experience of seeing her father seized by Stalinist secret police when she was a young girl growing up in the Mennonite community of Halbstadt in the Ukraine. Rimland later wrote a fictionalized account of her post-war sojourn as a refugee to a Mennonite colony in Paraguay, The Wanderers, and spoke to a number of Mennonite audiences about her experiences in the 1980's.
"Because of the lack of any genuine authority for Mr. Zundel's arrest and removal, it is clear that he was targeted for his unpopular beliefs and for daring to publicize them," says Leichty.
"Mr. Zundel can best be understood by Mennonites as a type of heretic that the Western world bitterly fears and is not prepared to allow. In our culture, theological heresy is no longer regarded as a threat, but an increasingly vocal minority in the West wants to make political heresy or `hate speech' a crime."
A number of European countries criminalize speech that departs from certain officially-approved accounts of the "Holocaust" and World War II. Besides Zundel, two other historians, Germar Rudolf and David Irving, were held behind bars in Germany and Austria for crimes consisting solely of speech. [Note: Irving has since been released.]
Leichty notes that all of Zundel's conduct and speech was and is considered legal in the United States, and that he was cleared of suspicion of any criminal activity by the FBI in an investigation concluded shortly before the illegal arrest in 2003, but that powerful forces acting within the U.S. government or to influence the government were obviously "hell-bent" on expelling Zundel from the U.S.
Comparing Zundel's kidnapping to the "extraordinary renditions" by the CIA of persons of mostly Arabic origin, Leichty said, "The Court of Appeals in Cincinnati will be asked to ensure that a political figure like Zundel cannot simply be taken from this country without the constitutional protections that residents of the United States have always enjoyed--including their day in court." Zundel filed a petition for habeas corpus in Tennessee before he was removed, but the federal judge in Knoxville handling that case denied his petition without a hearing.
After another Cincinnati panel told the Knoxville court in 2005 that the Knoxville court had to at least consider Zundel's petition, a hearing was held in Knoxville in October 2005 at which Leichty and Ingrid Zundel appeared, but the Knoxville court still ruled that it had no "jurisdiction" over Zundel's habeas petition since Zundel had waived his right to any such relief upon entering the United States under a program known as the "visa waiver program."
Zundels have pointed out repeatedly in their legal papers that Ernst Zundel's last entry into the U.S. was not in fact under the visa waiver program--indeed that the authority of the Attorney General to admit anyone into the U.S. under the visa waiver program had lapsed as of the time of Zundel's last entry--but that even if Zundel had entered as a "visa waiver" entrant, a federal court must have jurisdiction under the United States Constitution to hear habeas claims of someone in his position who is suddenly detained.
After he was deported to Canada in 2003, Zundel spent two years in solitary confinement in Ontario while he was subjected to a trial to determine whether he was a risk to the national security of Canada. Zundel spent almost all of his adult years in Canada, where he established a successful business as a graphic artist and became interested in politics. His activism for German causes brought him into conflict with prominent Jewish groups in Canada and he spent years litigating with the Canadian government over his speech, before moving to the U.S. in 2000 to marry and live with Ingrid Rimland. His earlier trials in Canada were the first trials where claims about the Holocaust were subject to testing and cross-examination, and have in turn been the subject of a number of books and videos.
His latest "national security" trial in Canada during the years 2003-05 allowed the government to introduce secret evidence against him, and was presided over by a former counsel to the Canadian national intelligence service. At the conclusion of that trial, Zundel, a lifelong pacifist who has had numerous associations with controversial dissidents, was labeled a racist and white supremacist leader, and was declared a risk to Canada's national security. Ernst and Ingrid Zundel have denied that they are racists or white supremacists, although they acknowledge they are advocates of the virtues of European culture.
Ingrid Zundel and Leichty plan to speak to supporters and persons wishing more information about the case at a meeting to be held in Cleveland on:
At that time, a documentary about Zundel's activism will also be shown. Admission is FREE. For more information contact:
Ingrid Rimland Zundel, (865) 774-7756 / (865) 774-7758 (fax)