1/3/2010- Ernst Zundel, the far-right activist deported from Canada in 2005, was released from a German prison Monday after serving a five-year sentence for denying the Holocaust. A crowd of some 20 supporters clapped and shouted “bravo” as Zundel emerged from the prison in Mannheim shortly after 8 a. m. Some handed him flowers as he passed through the prison’s steel gates. “I’m back out after seven years, three weeks, three prisons and three countries,” the 70-year-old said, declining to comment when asked whether the Holocaust happened. “It’s kind of a sad situation; there’s a lot to say. I’ll certainly be careful not to offend anyone and their draconian laws.” Zundel was extradited from Canada to face the German charges of inciting hatred for years of anti-Semitic activities, including contributing to a website devoted to denying the Holocaust — a crime in Germany. The website’s accessibility made it possible for German prosecutors to charge him with 14 counts. Zundel and his supporters had argued he was exercising his right to free speech. On Monday he gave no details about his future plans, saying only that he wanted to improve his health and would return to his home region in the Black Forest. “Having spent the last seven years in a ‘chicken coop,’ I’ve gained a lot of weight. I have to lose that. I have to get checked out in a hospital,” Zundel said, though did not indicate that he was ill. He said he was unsure if he would return to Canada. Born in Germany in 1939, Zundel emigrated to Canada in 1958 and lived in Toronto and Montreal until 2001. Officials twice rejected his attempts to obtain Canadian citizenship, and he moved to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., until being deported to Canada in 2003 for alleged immigration violations. In February 2005, Federal Court of Canada Justice Pierre Blais ruled that Zundel’s activities were not only a threat to national security, but “the international community of nations” as well, clearing the way for his deportation to Germany. Blais found Zundel to be a hate-monger who posed a threat to national security because of his close association with white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups that had resorted to violence to press their political and social causes. Zundel’s lawyer at the time said he was treated unfairly by the Canadian legal system but that no one was interested in protecting the rights of unpopular people. Zundel spent the last two years of his time in Canada in solitary confinement in a Toronto jail under anti-terrorism legislation. Despite his long stay in Canada, he was not able to convert his landed immigrant status into citizenship.
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