Arrest Warrant for Jailed Scholar ‘Fatally Flawed’; Public Opinion, British Press Against Thought Police
By George Kadar
Dr. Fredrick Töben’s third hearing on Oct., 10, 2008 in was supposed to be about bail.
He was arrested October 1 at Heathrow Airport in London after arriving on an American Airlines flight to switch planes toward Dubai and home to Australia. He was unaware of recent agreements among EU nations about “fast track” extradition.
Töben’s bail hearing was used by attorney Ben Watson, a leading specialist in extradition cases, to explore the complicated legal issues. Watson asked the court to release Dr. Töben unconditionally and allow him to leave the UK. District Judge Daphne Wickham refused, stating that the hearing was only scheduled for a bail request. The request for bail was delayed (on the request of the defendant) for after the October 17 hearing over the real issue, the extradition to Germany.
The original warrant dates back to 2004 in Germany, citing “instigation to race hatred, insult and reviling the memory of the dead.” Dr. Töben never traveled to Germany after his 1999 release from jail there for similar charges. The warrant further describes Dr. Töben’s activities as follows:
“From 2000 up to this day, worldwide Internet publications of anti-Semitic and/or revisionist nature. Deliberately contrary to the historical truth, the said publications deny, approve or play down above all the mass murder of the Jews planned and implemented by the National Socialist rulers. The offender is committing the acts in Australia, Germany and in other countries.”
Watson called the warrant “plainly defective” for lack of details on the alleged offenses. Since the offenses in question were not committed in Germany one question is: Were the alleged offenses committed in the UK?
If yes, Dr. Töben cannot be extradited and he is answerable to UK law. Furthermore, any warrant that does not contain the time and place of the alleged offenses is unacceptable. The issue was already ruled upon by the Law Lords.
Andreas Grossmann, the Mannheim District prosecutor has no idea when and where the Internet publications he is trying to censor were written. Grossman is already making statements in Mannheim, promising that Dr. Töben will serve the full five years—the maximum term. (Only for murder and robbery can prisoners be released after spending a third or half of their time in jail in Germany.) The relationship between Grossmann and Töben dates back to 1999 when Töben visited Grossmann’s Mannheim office, explained his position on the Holocaust and was arrested and jailed by Grossmann the following day for his expressed views.
Behind the nitty-gritty details Watson is aiming for his real target: Can a UK citizen or any individual be extradited for conduct that is not a crime or punishable offense in the UK?
At the same time Dr. Töben’s solicitor, Kevin Lowry- Mullins, stated that the court has to define the terms “racism and xenophobia” and “computer-related crime” before a decision can be made on the alleged actions of the defendant. He said Töben was expressing his political opinions—another reason why he cannot be extradited by English law. Töben can apply for and receive refugee rights in the UK.
The press and the general public are openly siding with Töben. Even Joshua Rozenberg, legal editor at the Daily Telegraph, stated: “There is a reasonable chance he won’t be extradited. Just because they are asking, doesn’t mean they are going to get [it].”
Töben was in good health and strong spirits when this reporter interviewed him at the prison in London. He agrees to fight the extradition case with the Law Lords, the highest court in the UK, even if that means spending two years in jail here.
He stated that the food and treatment were generally satisfactory. However, he was subjected to a strange form of cruel and unusual punishment: When he went to the prison chapel he was received by an extensive traveling exhibition of 32 panels on the life of Anne Frank, organized by the “posthumous stepsister” of Anne Frank. The exhibition was displayed for the literally captive audience in order to “reduce racially motivated crime.”
George Kadar is a Hungarian national living in England. He acts as one of AFP’s European bureau chiefs. He has long been an activist for global freedom of speech and an advocate for imprisoned “thought criminals.”
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(Issue # 43, October 27, 2008)