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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/press/guardian,051126


'Repentant' Irving to plead guilty but must stay in jail 
 
Ian Traynor in Vienna
Saturday November 26, 2005
The Guardian 
 
David Irving, the discredited British historian of the Nazis, will spend
Christmas and New Year in a Viennese jail after yesterday being refused bail
and being remanded for four weeks pending trial for allegedly lying about the
Holocaust.

Mr Irving is being held in Vienna after being arrested two weeks ago and has
been charged with denying there were gas chambers at the Auschwitz death camp
in speeches he made in Austria 16 years ago.

At yesterday's custody hearing the magistrate dismissed Mr Irving's lawyer's
request for bail on the grounds that he might disappear or that Britain would
refuse to extradite him back to Austria for trial because the alleged crime is
not an offence in the UK.

He is to be tried under a 1947 Austrian law banning Nazi revivalism and
criminalising belittling or justifying the crimes of the Third Reich. No trial
date has been set. The case should be heard in January. Irving faces a jail
term of one to 10 years if found guilty.

Mr Irving has 10 days to appeal against the indictment but is not likely to
lodge an appeal. His strategy is to plead guilty before a jury trial, but to
declare his remorse and insist that he has revised his views on the Third Reich
in the years since he made the Austrian speeches in 1989. "This might be a big
case, but it's not very difficult," his lawyer, Elmar Kresbach, told the
Guardian yesterday. "There are the transcripts of his speeches, there is a
newspaper interview that he gave [in 1989]. It's pretty black and white.

"But Irving told me that he has changed his views after researching in the
Russian archives in the 1990s. He said, 'I've repented. I've no intention of
repeating these views. That would be historically stupid and I'm not a stupid
man.'

"He said, 'I fully accept this, it's a fact. The discussion on Auschwitz, the
gas chambers and the Holocaust is finished ... it's useless to dispute it'."

According to Mr Irving and his lawyer, the 67-year-old historian, who lost a
major libel case against Penguin Books and the US historian Deborah Lipstadt in
the high court in London five years ago, entered Austria this month via
Switzerland and drove to Vienna to meet student radicals renowned for their
pro-Nazi views.

While driving there he suspected he was being shadowed by plainclothes police
and abandoned the meeting. He then drove to Graz in southern Austria and was
arrested by motorway police while trying to return to Vienna.

Mr Kresbach argued that his client was elderly, no threat to Austria, and had
promised to return for the trial if released on bail of up to ?20,000.

"It's not really necessary to keep him here," said Mr Kresbach. "He promised to
come back." The magistrate dismissed the argument, however, declaring there was
a "flight risk."

=30=


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