Siegfried Verbeke sentenced in 2003

09 September 2003  09:27 PM


A Belgian court sentenced an unrepentant Holocaust denier to a one-year suspended prison term for distributing pamphlets belittling the Nazi genocide against the Jews during World War Two.

Siegfried Verbeke was also stripped of his civil rights for 10 years, his lawyer, Frank Scheerlinck, told VRT radio.

Verbeke, 63, a Belgian of German origin, said he stuck "one hundred percent" to his views.

"Three centuries ago people were burned at the stake, so a one year prison sentence is not that bad," he told VRT.

"I do not repent...I object to the justice system and especially the Belgian justice system," he added.

The court said Verbeke showed no respect for the victims of the Nazi German extermination of six million European Jews.

A lawyer for Belgium's official anti-racism centre, which launched the rare case several years ago under a law banning Holocaust denial, said tolerance was more important than the right to free speech.

"There is a limit, which I would call tolerance," attorney Paul Quirijnen told VRT, adding that "the historical truth" could not be denied.


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