Czech court convicts CEO and publisher of Holocaust denial, fines both, appeals may be filed
Yesterday a first-instance court in Žďár nad Sázavou found the Bodyart Press publishing house and its CEO, Hedvika Fiksová, guilty of felony denying, impugning, approving of and/or attempting to justify genocide. The reason was their publication in Czech translation of a book by David L. Hoggan called The Myth of the Six Million denying that the Holocaust ever happened, as well as distribution of that same book.
Fiksová has been fined CZK 15 000 [EUR 600] and the company has been fined CZK 45 000 [EUR 1 800]. The verdict has yet to take effect and both the defendants and prosecutor Lenka Budzińská have asked for time in which to possibly appeal.
"I will consider a possible appeal only after the delivery of the decision in writing so it can be studied," the prosecutor said. Defense attorney Martin Zobač, who sought acquittal, will also consider appealing.
The book was published in 2016 in a print run of between 600 and 800 copies, Fiksová told the court yesterday. Most have sold.
The CEO claimed to have published it for the purposes of "study". The court disagreed with that conclusion.
Expert testimony on the book from Brno's Masaryk University was also used by the court to make its decision. The public denial of genocide is a felony under Czech law (Section 405) that can be punished by as long as three years in prison.
The prosecutor had proposed CZK 20 000 [EUR 800] in fines for the CEO and CZK 60 000 [EUR 2 400] in fines for Bodyart Press as a company. She said she had based those numbers on the company's income and on the personal income of Fiksová, who otherwise works in a nursery school.
Detectives began investigating the book at the beginning of 2020, when the Deník N news server drew attention to the publishing house and its products. The Supreme Prosecutor in Prague handed the case over to authorities in the Vysočina Region.
The Czech Police first shelved the case in March 2021. However, the Supreme Prosecutor's Office had that decision reviewed, and investigators began prosecuting both the publishing house and an individual at the end of the summer.
The court first issued an accelerated decision in the case without holding hearings, setting the fine at an amount lower than the one proposed by the prosecutor. All the participants filed objections to that decision, so yesterday the court dealt with the case at trial and issued a verdict shortly thereafter.
The Myth of the Six Million is one of the most famous Holocaust denial publications. The author of the slim volume claims, for example, that the figure of six million Jewish victims of Nazism is a "deliberate and shameless" forgery of history and calls it the "genocide legend".
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