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The fate of political prisoners in Europe

By Kourosh Ziabari

To those who have irrevocably come to the conclusion that Europe is a "beacon of freedom", it might be interesting that the most famous political prisoners of the world are being kept in the jails of different European countries on a number of charges.

Western human rights organizations frequently attack Third World countries for what they consider to be the violation of human rights and repression of political activists in these countries.

Every day, the same headlines appear on the front-page of European and American newspapers, condemning the imprisonment of a journalist in this African country or the cessation of that newspaper's publication in Latin America; however, the mainstream media in the Western countries who sing their own praises of being ideologically independent and self-determining regardless of their respective governments' dictated trajectory, are witness to the evaporation of their prestige and reputation as a result of the hidden censorship and bowdlerization which they're subject to.

One of the most recent examples of the mainstream media's collective attempt to withhold from the public an event which could potentially recall the forgotten story of a western exercise of double standards was their joint silence concerning the freedom of Ernst Zundel, the most famous political prisoner in Europe who has spent 7 years of his life behind the bars in three countries: Canada, Germany and the United States.

Ernst Zundel is a German historian and author, born in 1939 in the small town of Bad Wildbad. He emigrated to Canada when he was 19 where he became acquainted with some Canadian journals and started working with them as a graphics designer and illustrator. Zundel eventually went on to become an author and historian, first establishing a publishing house named Samisdat Publishers in 1966.

Being a German, he gradually developed an interest in studying the records and accounts of the post-World War II era and eventually came to the most controversial point of Germany's contemporary history, the Holocaust, which finally cost him 7 years in prison and permanent expulsion from a country in which he had lived for so long.

Zundel's publishing house gave a podium of expression to holocaust deniers such as Richard Verall, whose controversial book "Did Six Million Really Die?" brought Zundel under backbreaking pressures from the Zionist-owned chained media and groups.

On February 5, 2003, the U.S. police arrested Zundel and deported him to Canada where he was sentenced to 2 years in prison on grounds of being a "threat to national security."

Upon termination of his 2-year imprisonment and once the Canadian court confirmed Zundel's state as a threat to national security he was extradited to Germany where a state court of Mannheim sentenced him to 5 years in prison on charges of "incitement for Holocaust denial". He was condemned to a maximum of 5 years in prison on February 15, 2007. Ernst Zundel was finally released on March 1, 2010.

Only a few media outlets published the news of his being released and none of the mainstream media outlets interviewed him to ask about his health status and his bitter experience of being imprisoned for expressing his views. None of the western media outlets referred to him as a political prisoner; rather it was the Wikipedia article about Zundel in which he was labeled a "neo-Nazi", "fascist" and "white supremacist". It was only the progressive website, Foreign Policy Journal that interviewed Zundel two months after he was freed, where he described the horrible situation of Canadian and German prisons and the inhuman treatment he had received during his years of incarceration.

Zundel has stated that his entire treatment in the past seven years by those arresting, trying, convicting and keeping him in prison has been in brutal breach of international conventions.

"Throughout my imprisonment, basic human rights principles were trampled underfoot repeatedly and with impunity. The worst prisons were the Canadian detention centers at Thorold, Ontario and at Toronto West, where I was held for two long years in isolation cells, ice-cold in the winter, no shoes or socks allowed. The electric light in these cells, bright enough to be able to read, was kept on 24 hours a day. Through a glass slot in the door I was checked every 20 minutes, and my activities were meticulously noted by the guards: one sheet for every day. No dignity, no privacy. My toothbrush was kept in a plastic bin in a hall. I was not allowed to speak to other prisoners. Bed sheets were changed only after three months. No pillows. No chairs," he told the Foreign Policy Journal.

The only crime of Ernst Zundel was that he expressed his viewpoint that the extent of Holocaust as described by the majority of historians has been misrepresented. Zundel experienced atrocious and merciless treatment in the prisons of countries who introduce themselves the utopia of freedom and liberty; however, he is simply one out of hundreds of political prisoners who are being kept or tried in the Western countries for expressing the views which the statesmen would tend to dislike.

Germar Rudolf is another German holocaust denier who was responded ruthlessly for the expression of what he believed. The 1964-born chemist was sentenced to 14 months of imprisonment in 1995 for denying the Holocaust. He escaped to Spain, England and the United States to avoid detention; however, the German judiciary pursued him until 2004 when the district court of Mannheim confiscated 55% of Rudolf's financial revenues. In November 2005, he was expelled from the U.S. and deported to Germany where the federal police arrested him upon his arrival and sent him directly to the jail. Rudolf was finally released from the German prison in July 2009.

Numerous authors and historians including, among others, David Irving, Dariusz Ratajczak, Gaston-Armand Amaudruz and Fredrick Toben have been imprisoned and consequently vilified by the mainstream media as a result of expressing their unconventional viewpoints about Holocaust. Maybe their only crime has been unconventionality.

However, those who visualize the "liberal west" as an El Dorado of freedom and liberty should take into account a minimal extent of possibility that they might have been brainwashed by the machinery of Western propaganda. Reality is not always what we're told.