British historian David Irving arrested in Austria on Holocaust denial charges

By The Associated Press


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VIENNA, Austria - Controversial British historian David Irving has been arrested on a warrant accusing him of denying the Holocaust, the Austrian Interior Ministry said Thursday.

Irving was arrested on Nov. 11 in the southern province of Styria, said police Maj. Rudolf Golia, a spokesman for the Austrian Interior Ministry. He was transferred to a prison in Graz.

Irving was detained on a warrant issued in 1989 under Austrian laws that make Holocaust denial a crime, Golia said. The charges stemmed from speeches Irving delivered that year in Vienna and in the southern town of Leoben.

Irving in the past has faced allegations of spreading anti-Semitic and racist ideas. He is the author of nearly 30 books, including "Hitler's War," which challenges the extent of the Holocaust.

He remained in custody Thursday, the Austria Press Agency said. Calls to the Graz court to confirm the report went unanswered late Thursday afternoon.

If formally charged, tried and convicted on the charge, Irving could face up to 20 years in prison, said Otto Schneider of the public prosecutor's office. But he said it was unclear whether there were sufficient legal grounds to continue holding Irving on such a charge so many years after the alleged offense was committed. A decision was expected by the end of next week on how to proceed, Schneider said.