The Globe and Mail (Canada), Mar. 6, 2003
By ALLISON DUNFIELD
Mr. Zundel is being held in custody in Canada by the federal immigration department after applying for refugee status on the basis that he would be persecuted for his beliefs if he returned to his native Germany. There, he is wanted on a warrant accusing him of inciting hate.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service is also investigating whether Mr. Zundel is a security threat to Canada, reports have said.
“He’s claiming that these [the charges in Germany] are making him a refugee. What this also means is he can now tap into the Canadian judicial system. It means he can go on and on and on with appeals and back and forth and so on,” Leo Adler, director of national affairs for Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, told globeandmail.com on Thursday.
The group held a press conference in Toronto to announce that they have begun a campaign to persuade Germany to suspend charges.
“This would take away the legal basis for his application. He would then have no basis for making the application. Because he is an illegal undesirable in Canada he could be immediately deported,” Mr. Adler said.
The Wiesenthal group has also met with officials at the German embassy and sent letters to the German government.
“They [the German government] said it was an interesting proposal and said it would be nice if the Canadian government would also request that,” Mr. Adler said.
Mr. Adler has also written letters to Justice Minister Martin Cauchon and Immigration Minister Denis Coderre asking them to get in touch with Germany. Canadian Alliance foreign affairs critic Stockwell Day is also supporting the group’s actions, Mr. Adler said.
An on-line petition at www.wiesenthal.com (http://www.wiesenthal.com) has also been begun and has garnered more than 10,000 signatures, Mr. Adler said.
Mr. Adler said the longer Mr. Zundel is in Canada, the more it hurts Canadians and Holocaust survivors.
“Zundel loves publicity,” Mr. Adler said. “He doesn’t care what the end result is. Everyone knows it is a useless application. But because he’s in the system and because he’d be entitled he will continue to spread hate.”
Long viewed as Canada’s most notorious Holocaust denier, Mr. Zundel was returned to Canada last month by U.S. immigration authorities, who determined he had overstayed his U.S. visa.
Now, having made a refugee claim, he has the right to a hearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board, a process that can take months or years.
The government can, however, refuse refugee-determination access to claimants who are national-security risks, serious criminals or those who have violated human rights.
A government source confirmed to The Globe and Mail recently that the government is working to exclude Mr. Zundel from the refugee process.
Last week, in newly released documents that reveal the inner workings of his fight to stay in Canada, Mr. Zundel denied responsibility for the white supremacist Web site that carries his name, arguing that he does not even know how to turn on a computer.
With reports from Gloria Galloway, Peter Cheney and Campbell Clark