Austrian prosecutors appeal Irving's sentence for denying Holocaust

By The Associated Press


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VIENNA - Austrian prosecutors in the trial of right-wing British historian David Irving filed an appeal Tuesday to contest his three-year prison sentence, saying it was too lenient.

"The public prosecutor believes the ruling was too lenient in light of a possible sentence of up to 10 years and Irving's special importance to right wing radicals," said Walter Geyer, spokesman for the public prosecutor's office in the Austrian capital Vienna.

Irving on Monday pleaded guilty to denying the Holocaust, a crime in Austria. During the daylong trial, he insisted he had a change of heart and that he now acknowledged the Nazis' World War II slaughter of 6 million Jews. Irving also acknowledged he had erred in contending there were no gas chambers at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

"I made a mistake when I said there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz," Irving testified, at one point expressing sorrow "for all the innocent people who died during the Second World War."

Irving's lawyer, Elmar Kresbach, said after the verdict was announced late Monday that he would appeal the ruling. He has already done so, according to the Austria Press Agency. Kresbach was not immediately available for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Kresbach also told reporters that Irving would likely not serve the full three-year term because of various factors, including his age.

Irving is the author of nearly 30 books, including "Hitler's War," which challenges the extent of the Holocaust, and has contended most of those who died at concentration camps such as Auschwitz succumbed to diseases such as typhus rather than execution.