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Der Standard

Vienna, December 20 2006, 19:02

[German text | English translation]

Head of the Day: The right wing judge gets grouchy

Ernest Maurers Senate freed holocaust denier David Irving

Vienna - Ernest Maurer could "nobly forgo the honour" of being "Head of the Day". Still, the judge presides over the appeals senate of the Oberlandesgericht Vienna that released David Irving on Wednesday. Maurer based his decision, inter alia, on the "so far unimpeachable conduct" of the man who for so long and persistently denied the Holocaust.

Maurer isn't for the first time deciding in favour of the rightwing. "It is at any rate noteworthy that Maurer's senate sent back to square one 24 cases that were dismissed in the first instance, for example the case that Minister of Justice Dieter Bohmdorfer as FPO attorney representing Jörg Haider brought forward. Convictions for 'slander' (against commentators, who believe to detect brown shimmers in Haider's blue party) are usually ultimately upheld," wrote Daniel Glattauer, court reporter for the Standard in 2000 about Maurer.

Controversial Judge

Just this November [2006] the European Court of Human Rights dismissed one of Maurer's judgements against the Standard journalist. Glattauer had critically questioned the role of FP-man Ewald Stadler. Rightly so, found Strasbourg, and simultaneously overturned two more of Maurer's judgments against the Standard. And against other papers too.

"If the European Court holds a contrary view, I have to take note of that", said he. However, other legal practitioners, for example Hannes Tretter of the Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights, recommend remedial training on the subject of freedom of opinion for the Austrian justice system.

A spokesman for the Minister of Justice also recommended the "development of public consciousness",.

It pains Maurer always to be associated with the FPO, for example by the Standard which he says "continuously" writes falsehoods about him, which makes him "grouchy".

In 2000, on the recommendation of the FPO, he allowed himself to be seconded to the governing body of ORF [the Austrian broadcasting corporation]. "Perhaps too naive", he mused later. Linguist Ruth Wodak addresses Maurer again in a second book. "The espousal of racial purity, eugenics and being against the integration of foreigners is not regarded per se as slanderous", she quotes a [Maurer] judgement: "The idea of racial and genetically pure nations is as such an ideal conception not first invented by National Socialism"."

Is the quiet media judge, despite his "grouches" giving away something about himself? 62 years old, divorced and childless. Hobbies? "No party political things." He restores antique automobiles. Which? "Not German jeeps", few military (one Jeep from 1943). Biggest pride? "A real Austrian vehicle, a Steyr 220 convertible from 1937." It also transports ideas from that time.

(Harald Fidler, DER STANDARD, print version 21.12.2006)

[German text | English translation]

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