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Holocaust denial not a human right, rules European court

STRASBOURG, France — Denial of the Holocaust is not a human right, a European court rules today, throwing out a complaint by a German neo-Nazi politician.

Udo Pastoers, who served in the local parliament of the northeastern region of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, was convicted in Germany in 2012 after giving a speech in 2010 in which he appeared to cast doubt on whether the Holocaust really happened.

Pastoers, a member of the extreme right National Democratic Party (NDP), lodged a complaint against the conviction with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in 2014.

Udo Pastoers of the extreme-right National Democratic Party party attends a news conference after the party’s convention in Berlin on April 5, 2009. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

He argued his freedom of expression was violated and his right to a fair trial infringed because the judge at his appeal could not have been impartial as he was the husband of a judge who had convicted him in a lower court.

The ECHR judges rule unanimously that Pastoers’ complaint that freedom of expression had been violated is “manifestly ill-founded and had to be rejected.”

The judges also rule by four votes to three that there had been no violation of the right to a fair trial.

It adds an independent court of appeal panel with no links to either married judge had ultimately decided on the bias claim and had rejected it.

— AFP

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