Knuckles Rapped by Strasbourg

Spain has been ordered to pay compensation to a bookshop owner in Barcelona, Pedro Varela, who was fined for selling pro-Nazi literature, as it “justified genocide.”

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Sr. Veral, who organised anti-Semitic conferences in favour of the KKK, had not had a fair trial, and consequently the Spanish State would have to pay 13,000 euros in compensation to the said gentleman. Sr. Verela, by the way, had asked for 130,000 euros in compensation.

However, the Spanish Government has three months within which to lodge and appeal.

The case goes back to 1996 when the regional police raided the bookshop and confiscated racist material on the grounds that it incited racial hatred and denied the veracity of the Holocaust. The bookshop owner was the ex-chairman of the Spanish Neo-Nazi group, Cedade. Two years later he was sentenced to 5-years’ imprisonment, fined 20,900 euros and order to destroy the offensive material in question.

However, the Spanish Constitutional Court considered that to deny a person the right to deny the Holocaust was an infringement of his Rights of Free Expression. From there the matter was taken up by Strasbourg, resulting in this latest court sentence.