This story has been running a couple of days now.
Gerald Fredrick Toben, 64, was arrested at Heathrow at the request of German authorities for publishing "anti-Semitic and/or revisionist" material between 2000 and 2004. Holocaust denial is an offence in Germany where Dr Toben faces up to five years in prison if found guilty.
The Australian citizen was arrested while travelling from America to Dubai under a European Arrest Warrant designed to fast-track extraditions.
It\’s getting rather frustrating actually, trying to get people to listen to the important part of the whole thing.
Being dragged off a plane in transit, no extradition hearings (today\’s performance at Westminster Magistrates will not examine any evidence), the European Arrest Warrant and so on are all bad enough.
But look at the actual crime he is accused of. No, not holocaust denial, vile though that is (and yes, I think he\’s a scumbag for advancing such a view), it\’s actually that from Australia he runs a website. And that website says things which are illegal under German law. That is his crime.
The implication of which is that Germany is taking it upon itself to censor anything which appears on the net. Anywhere.
And if you break German law they\’ll prosecute you, the British coppers have to hand you over and you can be banged up for five years.
And this also means that if you break French law (insulting bureaucrats is a crime there), or Italian law (insulting the Pope is a crime there) or Romanian law (who in hell knows?) on the internet, then you can be dragged off and jailed there as well.
This internet thing being free from censorship just isn\’t true. ecause it\’s available everywhere it\’s subject to everyone\’s laws about what it is legal to say.
Just think what\’s going to happen when some Islamic cleric cottons on to this….that all the world\’s websites need to conform to Saudi or Iranian law on what is legal to say or not.