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.
Surely foreign governments can ask for extradition for a crime that is a crime here e.g murder?
I am amazed that only you Tim seem to be worried about this.
Tim adds: Sure, something that’s a crime here and a crime there is extraditable. I’ve no worries about that. But extradition for something that is not a crime here? No way Jose.
Where’s Shami Chakrabarti and Liberty when you need them? Nowhere – when it’s people whose political/religious views they disapprove of.
Mind you, the guy’s an idiot for flying via the EU which might reflect his academic capabilities.
The silence from the blogosphere on this is puzzling. Not a peep from DK, for example. This case surely shows how the Government reassurances on the EAW were useless, and that we all have something to fear.
I think you’re misrepresenting this. Under the EAW system, he needs to be accused of something which *would be* a crime here to be extradited to Germany – you still can’t be extradited for something that isn’t (it’s the same as the US warrant – although the foreign government doesn’t need to prove its case, it does need to accuse you of something that is a crime in both countries).
Incitement to racial hatred *is* a crime in the UK, and people *have* been prosecuted for it for publishing Holocaust-denying antisemitic material.
Tim adds: No, the EAW does not require double criminality. That’s what is so frightening about it.
It is hard to tell from the article but are the Germans claiming that they have proof that he broke German law while in Germany?
If not, be prepared to be shipped off to Saudi for a good dose of the cane if you have been downloading porn lately. Or, for that matter, the light-in-the-loafers crowd should everywhere should get ready for extradition to the US states where sodomy is still illegal.
“I think you’re misrepresenting this. Under the EAW system, he needs to be accused of something which *would be* a crime here to be extradited to Germany – you still can’t be extradited for something that isn’t”
No. To quote the European Commission:
“The European ArrestWarrant abolishes dual criminality for 32 categories of serious wrongdoing”
Holocaust denial is one of these 32 categories.
“It is hard to tell from the article but are the Germans claiming that they have proof that he broke German law while in Germany?”
Unfortunately, there is no need to examine the evidence at all: the magistrates have to trust that the Germans have the evidence that the law was broken in Germany. From the weasel-wording of the warrant, it appears that the basis of this claim is that the web site is viewable in Germany and Austria and therefore the crime has occurred in Germany. This crucial point cannot be debated in court in the UK: it has to be raised in a court in Germany as part of the trial, potentially after a year in pre-trial custody.
“Or, for that matter, the light-in-the-loafers crowd should everywhere should get ready for extradition to the US states where sodomy is still illegal.”
No, sodomy is only illegal if you are physically present in the state where it is illegal. In fact, extradition from one US state to another is not automatic, and it is quite possible that extradition to face a sodomy charge would be denied. This restriction does not apply to the EU arrest warrant.
“Holocaust denial is one of these 32 categories.”
No, it isn’t.
“No, it isn’t.”
From the link:
“2. The following offences, if they are punishable in the issuing Member State by a custodial sentence or a detention order for a maximum period of at least three years and as they are defined by the law of the issuing Member State, shall, under the terms of this Framework Decision and without verification of the double criminality of the act, give rise to surrender pursuant to a European arrest warrant:
“[blah blah] racism and xenophobia [blah blah]”
But I’ll tell you what: place a bet on whether our magistrates will set him free or put him on a plane. If the former, I’ll take your reassurances. If the latter, you’ll accept that we should all be afraid.
We are run by arseholes so dim that they can tempt me to the edge of feeling sympathy for the plight of a holocaust-denying twat. Jesu!
“We are run by arseholes so dim that they can tempt me to the edge of feeling sympathy for the plight of a holocaust-denying twat. Jesu!”
Indeed. Tim has several times quoted Larry Flint that he’s the litmus test of freedom. So if twats like Toben are protected then you can be sure that you’ll be protected when dishing out criticism of Mandelson, Brown and Putin (although not without risking a Polonium Panini with the last of those).
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This is outrageous isn’t it. An Australian, extradited by Britain, without a hearing, and despite having committed no crime in either place.
So if and when Turkey joins the EU, those of us who criticise the genocide of the Armenians and Assyrians can be hauled out of England and transported to Turkish prisons.
“So if and when Turkey joins the EU, those of us who criticise the genocide of the Armenians and Assyrians can be hauled out of England and transported to Turkish prisons.”
Please explain which of the 32 categories ‘not denying the Armenian genocide’ would fall under? (clue: none of them).
Well, at least Chris Huhne has had the guts to speak out.
The silence on the part of the rest of the politicians is telling….
“Please explain which of the 32 categories ‘not denying the Armenian genocide’ would fall under? (clue: none of them).’
“Xenophobia and racism.”
You can stick to your pollyana views all you like but the fact remains that Mr. Toben is IN JAIL RIGHT NOW because of this particular carve-out.
ZT – “No, sodomy is only illegal if you are physically present in the state where it is illegal.”
Someone correct me but didn’t the Supreme Court strike down all sodomy laws in the US?
No doubt we will have some really neat issues arising from this. Paedophilia and a common age of consent across Europe perhaps? Insulting the dignity of the Turkish state in the end? But the next battle may well be privacy. France has much tougher laws. British Courts are inventing such rights (ie seizing power in a slow motion coup) and so might be sympathetic. We will see.
How the fuck is *not* denying the Armenian genocide “xenophobia and racism”? Clown.
“How the fuck is *not* denying the Armenian genocide “xenophobia and racism”?”
It could be claimed to be anti-Turkish to claim the genocide took place. Indeed, the Turks claim that people asserting the Armenian genocide took place are doing so because they hate Turks and muslims. An allegation of xenophobia. It’s quite realistic to envision a Turkish police official being so annoyed by an opinion on a blog that he issues an arrest warrant.
You throw insults but you still haven’t understood the point. Mr. Toben is ALREADY IN JAIL. You can say “oh, the Holocaust isn’t xenophobia and racism” yet your opinion counts for fuck all: he’s in jail. If he’s lucky the court will free him next week. I say “lucky” because the court isn’t permitted to examine the evidence of the matter (it has to take on trust the statements in the arrest warrant: the warrant in Tobin’s case states the crimes took place in Germany, so the court must accept that; similarly, a future Turkish EAW could assert that a blog posting is xenophobic and the court would have to accept that).
“You throw insults but you still haven’t understood the point.”
No, he understands the point. He throws insults because he has no answer to it…
And I withdraw my previous approval of Chris Huhme, since it transpires the slimy little sod voted for this law…
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Fist, I cannot believe that this ignorant idiot have a Dr. degree. It is only possibly in western universities, where so called “freedom of speech” is used as umbrella for primitive education and profound ignorance.