CBC News (Canada), Feb. 20, 2003
THOROLD, ONT. – Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel has applied for refugee status in Canada.
Immigration officials are examing his application. “If he’s not admissible, he could be reported under the Immigration Act and could be ordered deported,” a spokesman said.
Refugee lawyer Andrew Wlodyka told CBC Newsworld Zundel’s chances are between “slim and none.”
His application has outraged Jewish groups, who claim it makes a mockery of the refugee system.
“Let me reassure you that if there’s an abuse of the system, we have to make the system work so there won’t be an abuse any more,” Immigration Minister Denis Codere said Thursday.
Whatever happens, Zundel’s legal battles could put Canada’s most notorious rewriter of history back in the news.
He denies that six million Jews died in Nazi concentration camps, and his fought for years to defend the claim on the grounds of freedom of speech.
He battled in courts and tribunals to continue to publicize his beliefs, and to become a Canadian citizen.
But the Supreme Court rejected legal efforts to overturn a decision denying him citizenship in 2002, and Zundel left Toronto for Tennessee in 2001 after the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal concluded that his Web site “created conditions that allow hatred to flourish.”
On Wednesday, U.S. Immigration officials handed Zundel over to Canadian authorities because he violated the terms of his stay in the United States.
Jewish groups are outraged, and want him deported to Germany, where he was born.
Zundel was never a Canadian citizen, but had permanent residency status.
He’s now being held in Thorold, Ont., and plans to to appeal his arrest in the U.S., where he overstayed his visa.
If he’s sent to Germany, he faces jail time after being convicted of hate crimes at a trial where he was not present.
In Canada, he is expected to claim to be a refugee because of the prospect of being sent to jail in Germany.