Monday, January 29, 2007

Germany won't urge EU-wide ban on swastika and Holocaust denial

Associated Press:

The German statement did not say why it had decided against pushing for EU bans on swastikas, but some other EU countries are wary of such legislation and so a community-wide ban may not be achievable.

Denying the Holocaust is a crime punishable in European countries such as Germany, Austria and France with prison terms of as much as 10 years.

But other countries do not consider it as a crime and have resisted moves for an EU-wide legislation.

The Italian cabinet stopped short of making Holocaust denial illegal when it approved a draft law last Thursday imposing jail terms for racist or ethnically motivated crimes.

The EU's executive Commission proposed an EU-wide anti-racism law in 2001 but EU states failed to agree, struggling over the limit between freedom of expression and sanction of racism.

One of the most contentious issues at the time was whether denying that the Holocaust had taken place was a crime.

Germany's new draft suggests that incitement to racism and xenophobia would be punishable by at least 1 to 3 years of jail in all 27 EU states, while leaving to each state to decide on the specifics.

No EU ban on swastika, Holocaust denial: Germany


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