The British historian David Irving has started serving a 3 year sentence in an Austrian jail after a Vienna court condemned him for denying the Holocaust. His lawyer Elmar Kresbach hopes the sentence on his 67 year old client will be reduced on the grounds of his age and because he has no previous convictions in Austria.
The Court convicted him under an Austrian law dating back to 1947. The severity of the setence has caused some surprise. Professor Richard Evans of Britain’s Cambridge University said the Austrian Law applied in the case made sense when it was passed in 1947 but was no longer appropriate.
He said there was a risk Irving would be seen by some as a martyr. The case was based on comments Irving made in an interview 17 years ago. Austrian police detained him in November as he was on his way to address a far right student meeting. He pleaded guilty claiming that his views had changed in recent years.