The case of Dr Gerald Toben is extremely disturbing. Dr Toben is accused of publishing materials “of an anti-semitic and/or revisionist nature”. This is a crime in Germany. The only problem is that Dr Toben wasn’t in Germany at the time.
Actually, another problem is that Germany has a law like this at all. Free speech or a free press are not particularly valuable commodities with the Germans. While I have no sympathy with Dr Toben’s views concerning the Holocaust, I have less sympathy with the Germans, who say that any discussion of history which suggests anything other than the officially approved story must be punished with imprisonment. Dr Toben already did a nine-month stretch in 1999 for being a denier.
Now he has been arrested in the UK and is being held – not for anything done in the UK, but simply for passing through Heathrow Airport on his way from the US to Dubai with a German warrant for his arrest, issued for being a Holocaust denier outside of Germany. That’s the impact of a 2003 agreement signed by EU member states.
In essence, this means that any law passed by any EU country can create a crime that can be committed anywhere in the world which has to be enforced by any member state. Theoretically, the Reichstag Bundestag can pass a law that any criticism of Germany, at any time in any place, is illegal and every other member of the EU will have to be on the lookout for anyone crossing its borders to deport them to Berlin.
It is just me, or does this disturb anyone else?