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Academic avoids extradition over Holocaust denial

German warrant lacking website details chucked out of court

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An Australian academic accused of holocaust denial has escaped extradition from the UK to Germany.

Dr Gerald Toben, 64, was accused of publishing anti-Semitic content on his website. But a judge threw an extradition request out of court after deciding it was invalid because it lacked any details of the website where the allegedly inflammatory material was written, among other factors.

The German authorities offered to find out the necessary details, but Judge Daphne Wickham ruled that allowing the admission of a "drip-feed of information" was unacceptable, ruling in favour of the defendant and discharging the case. "I find that the particulars are vague and imprecise. I find the warrant invalid and therefore discharge the defendant,", the Daily Telegraph reports.

German authorities plan to appeal against the judge's decision. In the meantime, Dr Toben was granted bail once he raises a £100,000 bond. Conditions of his bail include fixed residency, a prohibition on using the internet and a block on giving interviews to the media.

The contentious material was allegedly posted online by Dr Toben between 2000 and 2004. An extradition warrant was issued in October 2004 over material that allegedly downplayed the extent of the Nazi's mass extermination of Jewish people during World War II.

Dr Toben was cuffed at London's Heathrow airport on 1 October while in transit between the US and Dubai.

The controversial author and historian was reportedly jailed in Germany back in 1999 for "defaming the dead", an offence under German Holocaust memorial laws.

The Adelaide Institute website run by Dr Toben has attracted criticism for years. Eight years ago he fended off a lawsuit from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission in Australia arguing that offensive content posted on the site breached Australian racial discrimination laws and ought to be taken down.

Dr Toben claims he has no hope of receiving a fair trial in the event of his extradition to Germany. He further claims the current charges against him are a cyber re-hash of the 1999 prosecution. ®

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